SUKHUM -- Acting President Valery Bganba met with a delegation of deputies from the Parliament of the Turkish Republic who are visiting Abkhazia.
The delegation comprises parliamentarians MPs Ayhan Sefer Ustun, Ali Ihsan Yavuz, Hasan Ali Celik, Engin Ozkoç, and Munir Kutluata, the head of administration of the town of Sakarya, Zeki Tocoglu, the rector of the University of Sakarya, Muzaffer Elmas, the deputy chairman of the Sakarya Chamber of Trade and Industry Gunay Gunes, the chairman of the Abkhaz Cultural Centre in Sakarya Oral Kobas, and the chairman of the Caucasus Cultural Centre in Sakarya, Orhan Sari.
Greeting the visitors, the acting president thanked them for travelling to Abkhazia and noted that relations between Turkey and Abkhazia have a long history. “Turkey welcomed our compatriots during a difficult time for the Abkhaz people,” Valery Bganba said. “The Abkhaz and Circassians living in your country still consider Abkhazia their historic Homeland today. We are aware that recognition of the independence of our republic by Turkey is a difficult process, but the start of a dialogue is nonetheless possible.”
Representing the delegation, parliamentarian Ayhan Sefer Ustun agreed with him and commented that their presence in Abkhazia is confirmation of this. He stressed the warmth and hospitality with which they were met in Abkhazia. The deputy noted that the country is in a phase of transition, presidential elections are ahead and the timeframe for them is established, and he expressed the wish that they will be held successfully.
“You are speaker of the People’s Assembly. We know that the parliament has played a significant role in the building of the state. In Turkey in 1920, when the Turkish Republic as such did not yet exist, but the processes were underway, it was the National Assembly that played a huge, crucial role in uniting the people, in the formation of the ideas of building a new Turkish state,” Ayhan Sefer Ustun said. “We are convinced that here in Abkhazia parliament plays a huge role, first and foremost in representing the interests of the people who empowered them. And we are sure that your parliament will play a huge role in resolving the crisis. Every new period brings something new, and I am certain that after the elections the questions we are discussing here will expedite their solution.”
The Turkish deputy also expressed confidence that “step by step our relations will develop and become mutually beneficial.” He talked about the agreement signed the previous day between Turkey’s Chambers of Trade and Industry and Abkhazia. “We attach tremendous importance to this. Apart from this, among us is the rector of the Sakarya university, the largest in Turkey, a university where over 70,000 students study. And he has held a meeting and consultations with the rector of the Abkhaz State University. We have held meetings with a number of ministers and administration heads. We shall contribute to pushing forward the issues raised during these meetings. I am profoundly convinced that after this, bilateral relations between Turkey and Abkhazia will develop dynamically. In the first instance we look at these relations from the point of view of humanitarian relations: establishing direct air and sea communications that will contribute to developing the tourism sector and attracting investments.”
Ayhan Sefer Ustun invited Bganba to visit the Turkish parliament in the event that he visits Turkey.
Parliament deputy Engin Ozkoc (who is of Abkhaz descent, [his family name is] Papba), expressed gratitude for the attention his colleagues in the Turkish parliament have shown in Abkhazia.
“Our living together in Turkey over many years was based on brotherhood and mutual understanding. When trying to solve political problems we took into consideration the opinion not just of Turkey but of other players in international politics,” Engin Ozkoc said. “I am convinced that the question of cooperation with Abkhazia will become one of the fundamental [issues] on the foreign policy agenda. The presence of this delegation in Abkhazia and the huge attention they pay to this country convinces me of this.”
Acting President Valery Bganba presented [the delegation] with a book about Abkhazia as a gift.
The Turkish parliament delegation also met with their Abkhaz colleagues and with acting Foreign Minister Viacheslav Chirikba.
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