Tunisia's Prime Minister, Hamadi Al-Jebali, has started a short official visit to Turkey during which the two countries are expected to sign an agreement on strategic cooperation. The visit is taking place at the invitation of Mr. Al-Jebali's counterpart in Ankara, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The establishment of a higher council for strategic cooperation under the supervision of the prime ministers of both countries will lead to meetings being held annually, alternating between Tunisia and Turkey.
This framework, the first of its kind to be established by Turkey with a North African country, aims at widening political consultation and increasing bilateral cooperation between the two countries in various sectors, including culture and education.
Al-Jebali will meet with the President of Turkey, Abdullah Gul and the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Cemil Cicek, as well as Prime Minister Erdogan. Regional and international issues will be on the agenda, as well as bilateral cooperation. The Tunisian Prime Minister is also expected to meet with representatives of the Turkish customs and enterprise organisations and will give a speech to the general assembly of the Federation of Turkish Chambers of Commerce.
Turkey's economic ranking in the world has risen from 26th in 2002 to 16th; in Europe it stands in seventh place. The value of Turkey's exports last year was estimated at $135 billion; around 30 million tourists visited the country in 2011.
Tunisia and Turkey signed an agreement for the establishment of a free trade area that came into effect in 2005. This contributed to an increase in trade between the two countries which now exceeds one million dollars.