Daily Sabah | 31 October 2022
Türkiye-Uruguay ties are strengthening: Turkish Ambassador
Hüseyin Müftüoğlu, the first Turkish ambassador to the Uruguayan capital Montevideo, highlighted the depth of the 90 years of relations between Türkiye and Uruguay in an interview on Monday.
Answering an Anadolu Agency (AA) correspondent’s questions at the Turkish Embassy in Montevideo, the ambassador said that mutual visits at the foreign minister level have strengthened ties between the countries and that economic relations are developing by the day, stressing that cultural activities are important for the Uruguayan people who are curious about Türkiye.
Stating that Türkiye has improved its relations with Latin American countries, especially in the field of economy, Müftüoğlu said, "We did not have an embassy in Uruguay before. We were maintaining our relations with Uruguay from Argentina. We were in Uruguay last year and in El Salvador this year within the framework of our state’s policy of opening up to Latin America. We opened embassies in Türkiye. As of today, we have 18 embassies in this region, including our embassy and consulate general in Sao Paulo."
Müftüoğlu said that serious strides have been taken in the economic relationship between Türkiye and Uruguay in the last two years.
He noted that the pre-pandemic trade volume of $542 million is significant for a country with a population of 3.5 million that is thousands of miles away from Türkiye.
Underlining the importance of free trade between the two countries, Müftüoğlu said, "Exploratory talks on a free trade agreement continue. Our main target is MERCOSUR," referring to the Southern American trade bloc also known as the Southern Common Market.
"MERCOSUR is the target geography where we want to trade in a strategic sense and where we want to sign a free trade agreement. In other words, we want to reach the countries of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay," he added.
Diplomatic relations between Türkiye and Uruguay date back to a friendship agreement signed in 1929, a few years after the Turkish republic was founded in 1923.
"This agreement was ratified between the two parties in December 1933 and entered into force. In other words, next year, while we celebrate the 100th anniversary of our republic, we will be celebrating the 90th anniversary of our diplomatic relations with Uruguay," Müftüoğlu explained.
Last year’s visit by Uruguayan Foreign Minister Francisco Bustillo to Türkiye was a first from Uruguay to Türkiye at that level, he added.
He also mentioned Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu’s visit to Uruguay last April, pointing out that it was "the first official visit at the level of a foreign minister from Türkiye to Uruguay."
Noting that the Turkish Embassy becoming operational in Uruguay is one of the most important factors that reveal Türkiye’s political will to further its relations with the Latin American country, Müftüoğlu said: "Now Uruguay is opening its embassy in Türkiye on Nov. 1."
Türkiye is an observer country in organizations such as the Organization of American States (OAS), the Central American Integration System (SICA), the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and MERCOSUR.