Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky will visit Turkey on Saturday in the scope of the 9th meeting of the Turkey-Ukraine High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council, diplomatic sources announced on Friday.
Cooperation in the defense industry, free-trade agreement (FTA), and tourism are expected to be hot topics on the agenda during the visit.
In Feb. 2020, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Kyiv in the scope of the 8th meeting of the Turkey-Ukraine High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council.
Zelensky paid an official visit to Turkey in October, during which he met Erdogan and signed defense cooperation deals.
Significance of defense cooperation in bilateral relations
Ukraine purchased 6 Bayraktar TB2 type unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV) and three ground control stations from Turkey in 2019.
Further, on Dec. 14, 2020, a technology sharing and production deal for Turkish Ada-class corvettes and UCAVs, which Ukraine will purchase, was signed between the Ukrainian Defense Ministry and Turkey’s Presidency of Defense Industries.
That came after Vadim Nozdriya’s, general manager of Ukrspetseskport- one of the country’s major state arms conglomerates, announced on Oct. 6, 2020, that Ukraine was interested in purchasing 48 joint- production Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs.
As to the corvettes, after the construction and delivery of the first ship in Turkey, the rest will be constructed in the Okean shipyard located at Ukraine’s southern Mykolaiv.
Free trade agreement and goal of $10 billion of trade
To a large extent, the countries achieved to keep the volume of bilateral trade at $4.7 billion in the face of the pandemic.
In the first quarter of 2021, bilateral trade volume increased by 18 percent and was realized at around $1.5 billion.
Erdogan and Zelensky recently agreed to finalize the negotiation for the free trade agreement to increase trade volume between the countries to $10 billion.
Last year, despite the pandemic, around a million Ukrainians visited Turkey, whereas almost 150,000 Turkish tourists visited Ukraine.
Apart from Antalya, winter resorts in Erciyes, in central Turkey, and Erzurum, in eastern Turkey, are the most-visited destinations of Ukrainian tourists.