Prime Minister Hun Sen announced on Monday that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence Tea Banh will “soon” visit Turkey as a continuation of efforts to intensify bilateral relationships between the two countries.
As he presided over the graduation ceremony of more than 1,400 cadets at the Police Academy of Cambodia in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district, Hun Sen said that following his trip to Turkey last year and Interior Minister Sar Kheng’s last week, another high-level visit will be paid by Tea Banh. He did not specify the exact date.
Sar Kheng ended his official visit to Turkey on Thursday, during which he met his Turkish counterpart Suleyman Soylu in Ankara for talks on international security.
The meeting resulted in the signing of a security cooperation agreement between Phnom Penh and Ankara. Their meeting focused largely on new threats to peace, stability, public order and national security.
The agreement will play a fundamental role in creating a framework for expanding Cambodian-Turkish security cooperation, the Ministry of Interior said on Thursday.
It will focus on transnational and organised crime, particularly the combating of terrorism, the trafficking of people and weapons, cybercrime, money laundering and illegal smuggling of goods.
Hun Sen said the signing of the agreement reflected Cambodia’s ability to have strategic partners outside the region, and that while Turkey was not a member of the EU, it was a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato).
Ministry of National Defence spokesman Chhum Socheat told The Post on Monday that he had not received further information of Tea Banh’s visit.
Kin Phea, the director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, emphasised the warming ties between Cambodia and Turkey.
He likened Turkey’s current political situation to that of Cambodia, saying that Ankara is currently “having a problem” with Washington, thus Turkey turns to other alliances such as Russia and China, as well as other Asian countries.
Phea stressed that cooperation in security and political areas are necessary if Cambodia and Turkey wanted to be strategic partners.
Exchanging visits, he said, indicated that bilateral relations between the two countries was being promoted.
Political analyst Meas Nee reiterated that Turkey was in a similar position to Cambodia in terms of facing severe criticism from the West.
He said more and more countries created separate alliances with each other, gradually turning their backs on the West.
“These new alliances with non-traditional countries could increase Cambodia’s presence in the international geopolitical sphere,” he said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen visited Turkey last year and signed several agreements to strengthen cooperation between the two countries, including a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in the fields of culture, education, sport, agriculture, water resources, tourism, investment and mine clearance.
In June, Hun Sen also met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, as he attended the fifth summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia.