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Indonesia sees Turkey as friendly country: envoy

Indonesia shares many similarities with Turkey, Jakarta’s ambassador-designate to Ankara.

In an exclusive interview, Lalu Muhammad Iqbal discussed bilateral relations and cooperation adding that Turkey is a “friendly country”.

Hoping to enhance economic relations by achieving “direct contact” between Turkish and Indonesian businesses within three years, Iqbal underlined the potential for cooperation amid the ongoing negotiations for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA).

Iqbal underlined that the countries could begin implementing the articles of the agreement they have agreed upon so far and that this would “enhance economic relations and open opportunities”.

He added that Indonesia — pursuing new markets — may look to benefit from Turkey’s experience in regions such as the Middle East, Balkans and Central Asia.

Defense may become a priority in cooperation between Ankara and Jakarta, Iqbal said, praising the success of the joint effort by Turkish and Indonesian firms in the design and development of the Kaplan medium tanks.

He stressed that the two Muslim-majority countries also shared common positions in a variety of diplomatic bodies such as the UN and Organization for Islamic cooperation (OIC), where he said solidarity between the two countries would “have greater effect” in the resolution of problems in Muslim world.

“Turkey and Indonesia can take the lead in resolving problems in Islamic countries,” Iqbal said.

Iqbal is expected to take office in the coming months. He currently serves as director of protection and legal aid for Indonesians at the Foreign Ministry.

His new post was announced on Monday, Jan. 7 in an official ceremony in the Indonesian capital.

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