99 years ago today Turkish Grand National Assembly proclaimed the foundation of the Republic of Türkiye. This was possible thanks to the sacrifices made by the Turkish nation and the Independence War led by Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the Founding Father of the Republic of Türkiye. Turkish people were victorious against the foreign armies also because of the support extended by friendly nations around the world. Bengali nation was one of them. We will never forget the helping hand of our Bengali brothers and sisters during our most difficult times.
Turkish War of Independence and establishment of the Republic of Türkiye in October 1923 had sparked joy and inspiration for other nations under occupation at the time. Kazi Nazrul Islam, the revolutionary poet of Bengal, had expressed his admiration for Mustafa Kemal in his epic poem titled "Kemal Pasha". His name is given to the most prestigious avenues in Dhaka and Chittagong and a high school in Feni as a sign of respect for what he stood for, freedom and independence.
Today, rising on the legacy of our Founding Fathers, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, both Türkiye and Bangladesh are thriving countries. Our economic development trajectories bode well for a promising future. We will be stronger in every field if we develop our partnership further on this solid foundation.
Our trade is booming despite pandemic, expected to reach 1.5 billion USD in 2022. Turkish investors have already recognized Bangladesh as a land of opportunities, and invested in key sectors of the economy such as energy, consumer goods and ready made garments. Turkish Airlines have increased the number of their flights to 14 a week. Businesses from our countries are meeting at online and offline B2B meetings.
On 20 October 2021, we have launched the Bangladesh-Türkiye Business Forum (BTBF) in Dhaka. Bringing together six major Turkish companies operating in Bangladesh and eleven prominent Bangladeshi companies who are doing business with Türkiye, BTBF will promote better economic and trade relations between our countries and facilitate partnerships based on our shared values.
Indeed, our shared values date back to the times of Hazrat Shah Jalal, whose mother was from Konya, the Turkish city where Hazrat Mawlana Jelaleddin Rumi lived and died. I visited Sylhet, the city of saints, where Hazrat Shah Jalal's shrine is revered and visited by millions who respect him and his wisdom. Konya and Sylhet are sister cities, bringing us closer.
On this joyful day, I would also like to highlight another shared value we have: hospitality towards foreigners and particularly those in need. Both of our countries host millions of refugees, 4 million Syrians in Türkiye and over 1 million Rohingyas in Bangladesh. We set the standards for humanity in taking care of the vulnerable people fleeing persecution and violence. That is why Türkiye is best placed to understand Bangladesh and always stands in solidarity with the Government of Bangladesh.
In the years to come, Türkiye is determined to develop its partnership with Bangladesh further based on our shared interests and for the mutual well-being of our people.
Long live Türkiye-Bangladesh friendship!
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