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Turkiye ‘more than happy’ to be transit country for Bangladesh’s energy import, says envoy

Originally posted in The Business Standard  on 16 November 2022

Turkish Ambassador Mustafa Osman Turan on Wednesday said Turkiye would be “more than happy” to play the role of a transit country for energy supply to Bangladesh.

He said the Russian Federation has conveyed that it would like to see Turkiye as an energy hub for exporting oil and gas to Europe.

“If that is possible for Bangladesh and some formula can be found, and if we need to play a role in this as a transit country, of course we will be more than happy to do so,” he said at the “Meet the Ambassador” programme in a Dhaka hotel.

He said Turkiye is not a country with energy resources, adding, “So, we are not a source country for energy supply but we are a transit country.”

The Centre for Governance Studies (CGS) hosted the event in collaboration with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Bangladesh.

Asked about his impression of Bangladesh’s relations with India and China, he said Bangladesh is benefitting from cooperation with both the countries.

“Bangladesh’s foreign policy is doing very well under the circumstances. It’s very prudent not to take any side. Bangladesh’s foreign policy is navigating successfully so far,” he said.

Responding to a question on defense cooperation between Bangladesh and Turkey, he said it is a “substantial cooperation”, but did not disclose details.

“Election Bangladesh’s own issue, not foreigners’ concern”

The Turkish ambassador said holding a free and fair election in Bangladesh is not an issue for foreigners, it depends entirely on Bangladesh.

“It’s only for Bangladesh to decide, not foreigners,” he said.

The ambassador said political parties need to meet and address their differences, and that the government alone cannot do everything required.

Responding to a question, he said Turkiye sees Bangladesh as a “trustworthy manufacturing hub”, and it is going to be their prominent partner in the region.

The envoy said Turkiye plans to diversify their trade and investment in Bangladesh.

Asked about Turkish plans to develop strategic relations with Bangladesh, he said the plans should be mutually agreed upon.

The ambassador said the relationship between Bangladesh and Turkiye is based on trust and they look forward to broadening their partnership with Bangladesh.

Zillur Rahman, executive director of the Centre for Governance Studies moderated the programme.