Nepal and Turkey are all set to establish a bilateral consultative mechanism in a bid to further strengthen relations between the two countries.
The consultation mechanism being set up 52 years after the establishment of diplomatic relations will hold periodic meetings alterantively in the capitals of two nations as necessary to identify areas of cooperation between the two countries and review and consolidate past cooperation for mutual benefits.
Officials at Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said preparations to set up the bilateral body are almost completed and they expect to formally sign the agreement to this effect by April. “The mechanism will review a whole gamut of bilateral relations and decide to take new measures to enhance cooperation between the two countries,” said Joint Secretary Nirmal Kafle, who heads Europe-America Division at the MoFA.
Although Turkey had proposed establishing consultative mechanism also at the level of the ministry of culture, science and technology, preparations have been made to set up the mechanism at the foreign ministry level for now. The proposed mechanism will be headed by foreign secretary of the respective countries and will meet every year.
Nepal and Turkey established diplomatic relations on November 15, 1962. While Nepal’s ambassador to Pakistan is concurrently accredited to Turkey, Turkish ambassador in India is accredited to Nepal.
Turkish businessmen have been importing Nepali carpets in large quantities since the fiscal year 2003/04, resulting into a trade surplus in favor of Nepal. Besides carpet, Turkey could be a good market for Nepali Pashmina, shawls and handicraft items, among other things.
Nepal-Turkey Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ICOC) for enhancing trade relationship between the two countries.
Nepal and Turkey also signed the Air Service Agreement in September 2010, opening a new avenue connecting Europe and Nepal. Turkish Airlines has been operating three direct flights a week between Kathmandu and Istanbul since August, 2013, cutting short the time to travel to Europe.
Although the tourist visiting from Turkey to Nepal is limited to a few thousands, tourism entrepreneurs say the number could go up in the coming years. Turkey has introduced a provision to grant Nepali nationals holding Schengen visa a 30-day on arrival visa to travel to Turkey.
Turkey hosted the first UN Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in 2007 and the fourth UN LDCs Conference later in 2011 when Nepal was chairing the LDCs group of countries.
Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who visited Nepal in the capacity of foreign minister in February, 2011, has been maintaining that voice of LDCs like Nepal has to be included in G20 decision making process. “Nepal is the center of spirituality, how can we exclude them? They have to be part of the process,” he had said during G-20 Summit in Australia in November, 2014, calling for a more inclusive Group of Twenty (G20).