Jan 23, Colombo: Sri Lanka's experience in fighting terrorism could be a good example for Turkey to learn from, the newly appointed Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alexander Okyay has said on Wednesday.
Speaking to the English language Turkish daily Today's Zaman before his departure to Colombo, the Turkish diplomat has said that both countries have a lot of common issues and fight against terrorism was a first.
"I have to say that Sri Lanka is far ahead in the terrorism issue compared to Turkey. This is quite important. We would like to learn from their experience," the envoy has said.
Okyay has highlighted that the terrorists' methods in both countries are similar, and Turkey, as in Sri Lanka, is also fighting against a terrorist group and not an ethnic group.
"Sri Lanka has been enjoying peace for four years now. Terrorism should be ended one way or another," the envoy has told Today's Zaman.
Sri Lanka defeated the Tamil Tiger terrorist group, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009 after fighting for nearly thirty years. Since then Sri Lanka has seen a positive economic growth supported by increased tourism and impressive infrastructure development.
Speaking of bilateral relations, the Ambassador has said the two countries are deepening their relationship with the opening of the Sri Lankan embassy in Ankara and the Turkish embassy in Colombo.
Sri Lanka, furthering the diplomatic relations with Turkey, appointed the first ever Sri Lankan Ambassador Mano Wijeratne to the country in April 2012.
"We have a close and similar political understanding. We support each other on international platforms quite a bit," Okyay has said.
He noted that Turkey has supported Sri Lanka at the UN Security Council in 2010, when the terrorism issue was on the agenda.
As Turkey's first ambassador to Sri Lanka, Okyay has said that his first priority would be strengthening trade ties. There are important economic opportunities in Sri Lanka for Turkish businesses to explore, the envoy as added.
In this regard, the Turkish home appliances producer Arçelik will be opening an office in Sri Lanka in February, he has said.
Okyay has also urged the Turkish investors and tourists to visit Sri Lanka as it is a safe country to visit now the terrorism is no longer a concern in Sri Lanka.
"Turks coming to Sri Lanka will be in safe hands. It is a beautiful country. Sri Lanka has a lot to offer and it is waiting to be explored; firstly by tourists and secondly by businessmen," the firs Ambassador to Sri Lanka has said.