Cambodia and Turkey are fast-tracking revisions to a memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed to establish closer cooperation in all sectors, most notably in the field of education.

This was confirmed by Minister of Interior Sar Kheng as he met with Turkish ambassador Uiku Kocaefe, as the latter paid a courtesy call to the National Assembly on September 14.

Sar Kheng said Cambodia intends to propose additional content – mostly related to sub-national administration and security – to the MoU, to further expand the scope of cooperation between the two countries.

“Currently, the Cambodian government is focusing on a transfer of power to the sub-national level as much as is feasible, in accordance with our policy of decentralisation. This will mean transferring finances, human resources and decision making processes to the grass-roots level wherever possible,” he explained.

During the meeting, Sar Kheng and the ambassador exchanged views on bilateral cooperation, especially between the two nations’ interior ministries, and also discussed significant international events.

He thanked the Turkish government for its strong cooperation, especially in capacity building. He recalled that in 2019, he led a ministry delegation on a working visit to Turkey, where he met with Turkey’s interior minister and several Cambodian students.

In response, Kocaefe offered her thanks for Cambodia’s past cooperation, particularly in the fight against terrorism, which was a current priority of Turkey.

She was pleased that diplomatic relations between the two countries, which began in 1959, were further expanded earlier this year with the establishment of the Cambodian embassy in the Turkish capital.

She also expressed her satisfaction that Sar Kheng’s 2019 visit had led to an earlier MoU.

Regarding Sar Kheng’s intention to expand cooperation in the latest MoU, she said she was ready to receive an official letter from the Cambodian interior ministry and would immediately refer it to her government for review and final approval. She hopes that Turkey and Cambodia would be able to set an appropriate date in the near future to organise the signing of the new documents.