Turkey and Belarus plan to boost bilateral trade to $1 billion, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on November 11 after talks with his Belarusian counterpart Alyaksandr Lukashenka.
"There has been some decline in the commodity turnover between our countries in 2013-2015.I think we can raise [that] to $1 billion within a short period of time. It's not very difficult for our countries,"Erdogan said, noting that the two countries have a combined population of 90 million.
Turkish investment in Belarus now stands at $1.5 billion, Erdogan said. Some 200 Turkish businessmen are participating in a business forum in Minsk this weekend, with about 300 Belarusian enterprises in attendance.
Lukashenka said he welcomes Turkish investment and participation in Minsk's privatization of selected government sectors.
Erdogan hailed the opening of a new mosque in Minsk and used the occasion to skewer his critics in western Europe.
"While Islamophobia and discrimination against different religions is spreading in Europe, the opening of the mosque in Minsk has particular importance," Erdogan said.
"This especially concerns the quarters that seek to lecture us on democracy and tolerance from time to time but encroach on the Moslems' rights along the way."