Speaking in an exclusive interview with Today's Zaman at the 20th year anniversary summit of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) in İstanbul on Tuesday, Khoroshkovsky commented on a series of joint and multilateral economic projects with Turkey and expressed his appreciation for Turkey's support for Ukraine in international platforms such as NATO.
The two countries are currently working on developing Ro-Ro (roll-on/roll-off) ferry routes that would also include ferry-rail link-ups. A bilateral agreement adopted by the Turkish Parliament on March 8 envisages Turkish seaports with a railway connection becoming directly connected to Ukrainian ports by ferry. Ukraine has yet to ratify the agreement in their parliament. The deputy prime minister anticipated finalizing the documents related to this project at the next meeting this fall of the Turkish-Ukrainian High Level Cooperation Council (HLSC).
Khoroshkovsky expressed confidence in the economic cooperation with Turkey, mentioning the creation of a favorable atmosphere for Turkish companies, ensuring business transparency and easing business practices as necessities for Ukraine. "In the spirit of partnership between Ukraine and Turkey we rely on Turkish partners to continue their expertise in Ukraine and help us modernize and [enhance] our country,” he noted.
Turkish construction companies such as Doğuş, Onur, ENKA and Aysel are well known in Ukraine's construction sector and have been working in the country for about two decades. Turkish construction companies have also contributed to the national program of developing the infrastructure for Euro 2012 and have built a new international terminal in Kyiv Boryspil International Airport and a stadium in Donetsk along with several hotels, roads and bridges.
Turkey and Ukraine are also partners within the Lithuanian-initiated, regional-level Viking railway project, which aims to develop cooperation in the transport field in the Baltic, Black Sea, Caucasus and Middle East regions. In the project, which currently involves Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia and Turkey, which would be interconnected to each other via a single rail line, Turkey finds itself in a prominent position due to its strategic location as meeting point for Europe, Asia and Africa.
“I strongly believe that trade potential between our countries is greatly underexploited and that we have to intensify our efforts in this field,” the Ukrainian deputy prime minister noted. The current trade volume between the two countries is very promising, resuming pre-crisis dynamics and amounting to $5.2 billion. Deeming this volume insufficient, Khoroshkovsky mentioned negotiations on concluding a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Ukraine and Turkey, drawing attention to the fact that that trade volume could be increased to $40 billion by 2020.
Maintaining that Ukraine is a non-aligned country, implying that Kyiv has opted to stay out of any military organization such as NATO or the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Khoroshkovsky stated that Ukraine would continue a constructive dialogue and effective cooperation with NATO. “We highly value interaction with Turkey and the support it renders Ukraine in the NATO framework,” he also emphasized.