Prosperity and development in Bosnia and Herzegovina are among Turkey’s priorities as it seeks to prevent the brain drain in the Balkan country with new investments, the Turkish ambassador in Sarajevo said.
Relations between Turkey and Bosnia and Herzegovina have not lost momentum even amid the coronavirus pandemic, Haldun Koç told the Anadolu Agency (AA), stressing that the economic and business plans of Ankara in the country also contribute to political stability.
Last year, the bilateral trade volume of the two countries was $ 700 million (TL 5.55 billion), with a target of $ 1 billion, he said, adding that this year they could reach $ 700 million despite the pandemic.
After meeting with Bosnian officials, Koç noted that the country was ready to offer incentives and other amenities to Turkish investors.
“The main objective is to prevent the brain drain and keep the population young in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that could go through employment,” he said.
Koç pointed out that Turkish state lender Ziraat has several branches in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) has many development projects in the country.
Many Turkish companies and institutions are also active in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he said.
One of the most important projects for the Balkans is the Sarajevo-Belgrade highway, which Turkey has supported, as its construction on the Serbian side continues despite the pandemic, he stressed.
In December 2018, Turkey’s Taşyapı signed a contract with the Serbian government for the design and construction of the first of two sections of the highway that will connect the capitals of the two countries.
Turkey sees the role of the highway as a guarantor of peace in the region. The project was mentioned more than two years ago but encountered a problem with 16 different routes proposed.
However, the dispute over routes ended following a meeting in Turkey between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and former Bosnian member of the BiH Presidency Bakir Izetbegovic.
With Erdoğan’s support, the proposals of both sides were accepted by building the highway via two different routes.
The first highway route will pass through Sarajevo, Zenica, Tuzla, Brcko, Bijelina and Belgrade, while the second route will cross Sarajevo, Visegrad, Pozega and Belgrade.
Koç added that Turkey has appointed a new consul general in the Bosnian province of Banja Luka, which has a large Serbian population.
“Reaching the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina is very important for the good of the region and the development of trade and human relations.