3. Erdogan says visit to Belarus is 'milestone'
Erdogan says visit to Belarus is 'milestone'

Erdogan says visit to Belarus is 'milestone'

Turkish president and Lukashenko meet in Minsk


Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday his visit to Belarus -- the first by a Turkish president -- was a milestone for the relations between Ankara and Minsk.

The Turkish president and his counterpart Alexander Lukashenko held a joint press conference Friday at the Independence Palace after their talks.

Erdogan said they had an efficient meeting which resulted in the signing of nine agreements in such fields as education, agriculture, and energy.

Protocols and cooperation agreements were also signed including the one between Turkey's Anadolu Agency and the Belarusian Belta News Agency.

"Our goal is to reach $1 billion worth of trade volume between the two countries. We can achieve it," said Erdogan.

"Turkey is a good partner for us. We attach high value to our friendship," said Lukashenko.

Earlier in the day, Erdogan attended the inauguration of the Minsk Mosque, which has recently been rebuilt.

He added that the mosque was a symbol of friendship between the two nations. The Turkish president thanked Lukashenko for his support of its construction.

"The Minsk Mosque has a great significance in a period when Islamophobia and discrimination against different religions and cultures, and attacks on worship places in Europe had peaked.

"We hope that the tolerance of Lukashenko, which embraces differences, sets an example to the world," he said.

Erdogan also recalled that the Belarus president was among the first to call in solidarity with Turkey following the July 15 coup attempt.

Both leaders attended the Turkish-Belarus Business Forum later on Friday.