Turkey will push for a Free Trade Agreement with Mexico in 2018

"We are doing well but we need to do more due to the competitive advantages of Mexico and Turkey"

Tashin Timur Söylemez, Turkish ambassador to Mexico - Photo: Alonso Romero/EL UNIVERSAL
English 15/12/2017 18:56 Gabriel Moyssen Mexico City Actualizada 12:51
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Turkey and Mexico enjoy of warm and good relations, with a lot of similarities on the economic perspective, however, there is still a huge potential to be developed and the government of Ankara will promote a free trade agreement with Mexico in 2018, said the Turkish ambassador to Mexico, Tashin Timur Söylemez.

“There is huge potential for trade and investment, we are doing well but we need to do more due to the competitive advantages of Mexico and Turkey. This is why we are very excited; hopefully, in 2018, we will move forward with a free trade agreement, it is something we have been negotiating for a while and there are some areas where we need to work more”, said Söylemez.

In an interview with EL UNIVERSAL, Söylemez, who arrived to the country less than four months ago, noted that “is very clear that next year is an election year in Mexico and that the Mexican government is very busy negotiating not only NAFTA with the United States but also with Europe and other regional groupings, so we know that the time is not perfect yet, we know there is a will to diversify economic relations”.

Tashin Timur Söylemez, Turkish ambassador to Mexico in an interview with Gabriel Moyssen for     EL UNIVERSAL - Photo: Alonso Romero/EL UNIVERSAL

Söylemez pointed out that there are no major obstacles to sign a free trade agreement with Mexico, nevertheless, there is work to be done in some specific fields,  “I think there are some areas in which we need to understand each other better, one of those is textiles. The Mexican textile industry is understandably worried about competition that could come from Turkey, but what happened after China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) is that the Turkish industry started to change its approach, so we are now developing much more high-quality textiles and we believe that there is a market for them here”

In this regard, Söylemez added that manufacture, agriculture, energy, infrastructure, construction, and tourism -through the establishment of direct flights between Istanbul and Mexico City with Turkish Airlines- are other areas of cooperation that would provide great benefits for both countries and their respective regions.

The Turkish ambassador also highlighted that next year “we will be opening up the Turkish Cultural Center in Mexico City, which will allow us to promote our culture, from music to literature, theater and food not only from a classic perspective but also from a contemporary perspective and I really think this will be very exciting, because of the cultural similarity” between the two countries.


Söylemez said that he was disappointed by the claims made by the Armenian ambassador in Mexico, Ará Aivazian, in another interview with EL UNIVERSAL, about the conflict in the Azeri region of Nagorno Karabakh, “in particular his allegations that somehow we wanted to commit crimes against humanity, crimes against Armenians, I found those allegations to be ridiculous and baseless”.

“For a long time, Turkey has been trying to address issues in the Caucasus region with a peaceful perspective, we do not play the blame game and, here let me say, I very much appreciate the Mexican government position of not allowing Mexico to be a place where such issues are debated. I know there are people in Mexico City who would bring this fight here and who would like to force the Mexican government or the Mexican Congress to a place where they have to take a position, but we never do this, Turkish diplomacy has always been very careful  not to bring such controversial issues to other countries”, Söylemez added.

Turkish landscape - Photo: HomeTurkey.com

After the trip made during October by three Mexican deputies to Nagorno Karabakh, where Armenian rebels proclaimed a self-styled independent republic exploiting the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, Söylemez emphasized that “it is true that Nagorno Karabakh is under invasion, it is a fact there are four United Nations Security Council resolutions calling on Armenia to end this occupation which is going on now for 25 years. So we call Armenia to abide by U.N. resolutions and to make peace within the region”.

Regarding the Armenian accusations of genocide in 1915-1923, during the end of the Ottoman Empire, he said that it was a period of history where it is important to understand the context:
“We are trying to look history objectively, unfortunately, the Armenians have a different approach, they want to dictate to us their version of history. We are not going to sit back and accept the accusations, we are open to dialogue, we are open to reconciliation and we are open to resolving all of the issues, so I hope that we can put this negative discussion behind and shake hands, rather than show fists”, Söylemez added.

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