Trade, Defense Cooperation Top Agenda During Erdogan's State Visit


AUGUST 01, 2015

Jakarta. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during a three-day state visit to Indonesia, discussed intelligence sharing about the Islamic State movement as well as greater economic and defense cooperation between the two nations.

After meeting with his counterpart Joko Widodo at the State Palace on Friday, Erdogan later in the day had a tete-a-tete with Vice President Jusuf Kalla at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in South Jakarta.

At a press conference after the palace meeting, Joko said that he had proposed to the Turkish president to improve intelligence cooperation, especially to prevent Indonesian nationals from joining the Islamic State movement.

Most would-be fighters leave for IS-controlled territories in Iraq and Syria through Turkey, which borders both. A number of Indonesians have already been apprehended by Turkish authorities while supposedly trying to join IS.

Erdogan told reporters that the IS fighters are creating serious problems in the Middle East and that indeed Indonesians were among those trying the join.

"We'll have to close our border for those [people who want to join IS]," he said, adding that so far 1,600 people had been deported for trying to do so.

Joko said that he had also discussed boosting trade with Turkey, and Erdogan acknowledged that "entrepreneurs from our two countries can cooperate more closely."

"Indonesia is a leader in Asean [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations] and we would like to be one of their partners," the Turkish leader said.

With Kalla, later in the day, Erdogan also discussed trade, defense cooperation as well as ways to foster moderate understandings of Islam.

A number of defense deals were closed during the state visit, including with Indonesia's state-owned weapons manufacturer Pindad.

"We will set up a joint industry," the vice president said. "Pindad is certain, [the Turkish side] I don't know yet."

Erdogan also met with leaders of the House of Representatives, with whom he discussed trade and investment, education and defense cooperation.

Mahfudz Siddiq, chairman of the House's Commission I, which handles defense, foreign relations and intelligence matters, said the Turkish delegation had expressed a desire to invest in a military shipbuilding industry here.

Pindad already works together with companies from several countries, including Turkey's FNSS Defense Systems. With FNSS, Pindad is developing a medium-sized tank.

Erdogan left the country on Saturday, from Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport.