Two-day visit by Turkish president to Serbia 'a good step in the right direction' analyst tells Anadolu Agency
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent two-day official visit to Serbia revealed Turkish “goodwill” for future economic cooperation with the Balkan country, an economic analyst told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.
According to local analyst Mahmud Busatlija, Belgrade will need to adjust its economy to take advantage of Turkish cooperation.
“Turkey's visit is a good step in the right direction, that this is a sign that Turkey has the goodwill to cooperate with Serbia.
“The question is how will Serbia use it and … [how] Serbia needs to adjust its economy to cooperate with such a country,” Busatlija said.
Busatlija predicted Turkey could be one of the world's top 10 economies and that with such economies "you must have good relations".
Speaking about a new free trade agreement between Serbia and Turkey, Busatlija said Serbia’s small size raised the question of what it had to offer a Turkish market of 80 million people.
"The 5,000 tons of meat we have been granted for export is insignificant, it's a drop in the sea, but we cannot produce more than that.
“Serbia should have a long-term development plan. As much as Turkey was ready to have us as a partner, we need to enable the country to do so," he said.
Busatlija estimated that, according to data from 250 Turkish investors operating in Serbia and employing about 7,000 people, most are small companies meaning Serbia needs cooperation in large complexes or indsutries.
Erdogan’s visit was on the agenda of the regional media long before the Turkish president arrived in Serbia.
On the eve of the visit, Serbian media mainly focused on the security measures surrounding engagements in Belgrade and the Muslim-majority city of Novi Pazar.
However, the media's focus shifted quickly to the visit's economic and political importance, especially to cooperation between Serbs and Bosniaks.
Erdogan’s visit was followed live, minute-by-minute, from the moment he landed in Belgrade until he left Serbia.
Reports showed him being greeted by President Aleksandar Vucic and Serbian’s cabinet, the festive welcome afforded the Turkish leader in the Palace of Serbia, about a walk through Belgrade Fortress before going to Novi Pazar.
Media reports also showed the large crowds which greeted the Turkish leader in Novi Pazar, where he went on walkabout with Vucic, as crowds waved Turkish flags.