Turkiye yesterday said it hopes the upgrading of its ties with Malaysia to comprehensive strategic partnership will further strengthen economic and commercial cooperation, including on vaccine development.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said among the immediate plans was for the republic, which became the ninth country in the world capable of producing its own Covid-19 vaccine last year, to launch its locally produced vaccine, Turkovac, in Malaysia.
"We want to transfer vaccine technology and carry out vaccine development studies together," he said at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who was in the country on a four-day official visit.
During their meeting at the Presidential Complex in the capital, Erdogan said they had discussed cooperation in fields such as the economy, investment, trade, defence industry, technology, health and communication.
"On this occasion, we once again confirmed our determination to carry forward our cooperation, which is getting deeper with each passing day. Upon the proposal of the prime minister, we decided to upgrade the relations between our countries from a strategic partnership to a comprehensive strategic partnership," he said.
Erdogan said Malaysia-Turkiye relations have reached an exceptional level, with trade volume exceeding US$3.5 billion and Malaysia becoming the republic's largest commercial stakeholder in Southeast Asia.
He said trade volume increased by 50% last year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, and that the figures for the first six months of 2022 also showed a further increase in line with their target of US$5 billion by 2024.
The president said he believed that expanding the Free Trade Agreement to include services, investments and electronic commerce would further strengthen their economic and commercial ties, as well as balance the trade of goods and services.
The two leaders also discussed the possibility of new cooperation models and investment projects, such as in food security, energy and environment.
"I would like to emphasise that we have always felt the support of Malaysia on our side," he said, adding that he and Ismail had also discussed the Rohingya and Islamophobia issues.
He said both countries would strengthen their solidarity on platforms such as the United Nations, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and D8.
"We are working to strengthen our cooperation with all our brothers in Asia with our win-win understanding with our Asia Again initiative.
"We aim to raise our cooperation with Asean, of which we are a sectoral dialogue partner, to the status of a dialogue partnership," he said.