Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Türkiye interacts with the leaders of Gaziantep Province of Türkiye
Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Türkiye, H.E. Hasanthi Urugodawatte Dissanayake visited the Gaziantep Province recently to renew friendship and collaborations with the Province, together with Mr. Suleyman Cicek, the Hony. Consul of Sri Lanka in Gaziantep and Ms. Thavishya Mullegamgoda, Minister (Commercial) of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Türkiye.
Gaziantep is a major city in south-central Türkiye and is the capital of the Gaziantep Province, in the westernmost part of Türkiye’s Southeastern Anatolia Region and partially in the Mediterranean Region. It is the sixth-most populous city in Türkiye. Gaziantep has a territory of 7,642 square kilometers and a population of a little over 2 million.
Ambassador and the team were warmly welcomed by the Governor of Gaziantep Mr. Kemal Ceber Ersin and his team. The Governor, who was only appointed recently to Gaziantep noted that Ambassador of Sri Lanka is the first Ambassador that he is receiving since assume duties, and thus consider the interaction as an important aspect in his commencement of duties in Gaziantep.
Ambassador recalled the devastating earthquake that stuck South Eastern Türkiye in February 2023 that also resulted in loss of life and property in Gaziantep Province and expressed her condolences. She further appreciated the role played by the Hony. Consul, Mr. Suleyman Cicek in assisting Sri Lankans in earthquake affected areas.
The discussion revolved around the potential to promote bilateral cooperation, especially in the economic sector and people-to-people relations.
Ambassador also mentioned about the Sister City MoU signed between the city of Gaziantep and the City of Ratnapura. Both the Governor and the Ambassador agreed to revitalize the engagement accordingly through the respective cities.
Governor Ersin, who has been previously the Governor in Rize, a major tea growing area in Black Sea Region, invited Ambassador to visit the region. He also informed that he has met with some Sri Lankan tea experts who had shared with some useful tips on tea planting and processing with him and underscored that there is much that Türkiye can learn from Sri Lanka. The Ambassador said that it would be possible to organize a delegation from Rize to visit Sri Lanka on a familiarization tour to the tea sector. The Governor also noted that Gaziantep region mostly import tea from Sri Lanka as Turkish people in Gaziantep prefer to drink tea from Sri Lanka.
Ambassador and the team also had a successful meeting with the President of Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Mehmet Tuncay Yıldırım and his team.
Gaziantep Province is an economic centre for Southeastern and Eastern Türkiye. Further, Gaziantep has the largest organized industrial area in Türkiye.
Manufacturing activities in the Province are mainly carried out by small scale enterprises. Among its prominent enterprises are cement, textile, leather, shoemaking, soap, woodworks, metal and machinery industries and workshops. It maintains its status as an "export gate" by its 120 different products exported to 40 countries. The city is the centre of the green olive oil-based Nizip Soap industry.
The Province is one of the leading producers of machine-made carpets in the world. Gaziantep has competitive advantage in textile sector. The sector is primarily specialized in manufacturing different kinds of yarn and carpets.
With its extensive olive groves, vineyards, and pistachio orchards, Gaziantep is one of the important agricultural and industrial centres of Türkiye.
During the meeting with the Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce, Ms. Thavishya Mullegamgoda, Minister (Commercial) of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Türkiye briefly presented opportunities in Sri Lanka in trade, investment and tourism spheres and agreed to share further detailed information on business opportunities available in Sri Lanka to be shared among members of the Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce.
In addition, the Sri Lankan side mentioned its keen interest to continue discussions with the Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce and relevant Sri Lankan counterpart Chamber to establish formal partnership in future with the objective of expanding two-way business activities.
Further it was discussed, textiles, food processing, rubber products, confectionery, chocolates, Turkish delights, tourism, gastronomy etc. could be some potential areas for collaborations between Sri Lanka and Gaziantep in future. As Gaziantep is a well-established industrial and commercial region in Türkiye, authorities in Gaziantep Province agreed to continue this discussion with companies and business organizations in their region to explore innovative ways to expand business relations between Sri Lanka and the Gaziantep Province in Türkiye in future.