Tirana, Albania – Turkey and Albania on Wednesday signed an agreement to upgrade bilateral ties to a strategic partnership level.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama following meetings in the capital Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan highlighted the historic ties between the two countries.

“We just signed a joint political declaration on the establishment of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council. Thus, we have raised our relations to the level of strategic partnership,” Erdogan said.

The move toward strategic cooperation will help further the cooperation between the two countries in every field, he added.

*Recalling the two earthquakes that hit Albania in September and November in 2019, Erdogan once again extended his condolences to the families of those killed in the deadly incidents and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.

He said that the construction of 522 new housing units by Turkey in Albania is a positive gesture.

“We are planning to increase investments in infrastructure and tourism in Albania. We want to lift our economic cooperation to a new dimension,” Erdogan said.

The Turkish president also announced the construction of a new hospital in Albania within three months.

Erdogan noted that Turkey and Albania share the same stance on fighting Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).

He added that the two brotherly nations will not allow the FETO to poison their relations.

FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 in Turkey, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

‘Strong will on close cooperation’

The Albanian prime minister expressed satisfaction on the latest deal saying it will further boost ties.

“I am sure that we have taken a very important step today and when these initiatives come true, Albanians and Turks will see the positive results of this,” Rama said.

He went on to say that he saw a “strong will” to open a new page in bilateral ties during their meeting.

Thanking Turkey for aid to victims of the 2019 earthquake in Albania, Rama said they too wanted to enhance ties.

Touching on Turkey’s medical supplies to his country amid the pandemic, Rama said that these gestures are “meaningful”.

Turkey and Albania signed a series of agreements on various fields, including health and medicine, education and economy.

On the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on construction work signed by the two countries, Turkey’s Environment and Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum said that Turkey will build an electronic concrete monitoring system in Albania.

“We will cooperate with Albania in the field of building control as well, which is successfully implemented in our country,” Kurum said on Twitter.