Turkey’s Gul attends Turkmenistan’s national horse day festivities

President Abdullah Gul was in Turkmenistan on sunday to attend celebrations held on the occasion of the country’s annual Turkmen Horse Day.

Turkmen Horse Day is celebrated on the last sunday of April every year. Gul was the guest of honor at this year’s festivities. A special horse race was held in his honor.

Gul arrived for the event along with the presidents of Turkmenistan and Tatarstan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Rustam Minnikhanov. Gul and Berdimuhamedov held a bilateral meeting after the ceremonies. Neither party made a statement after the talks.

Gul also held a bilateral meeting with Minnikhanov on saturday. The meeting was closed to the press and no statement was released afterward.

Turkmen Horse Day is celebrated to honor the famed Akhal-Teke breed, which is considered a national emblem of Turkmenistan. Berdimuhamedov is known for his affection for the breed, having written two books on the subject.

Turkey and Turkmenistan enjoy warm political ties and seek to further develop their trade ties as well. Last month, Turkmenistan’s foreign minister, Rasit Meredow, visited Turkey to discuss bilateral relations, and Berdimuhamedov is expected to pay a visit to Turkey in June.

After meeting Meredow, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet DavutoGlu said the trade volume between Turkey and Turkmenistan currently stands at around $2.5 billion and that the two countries aim to increase this to $5 billion. Meredow said there are 600 Turkish firms operating in Turkmenistan in various sectors and that the countries’ economic relations are healthy.

With the dissolution of the soviet union and Turkmenistan’s independence in 1991, Turkish companies began to perform contract work in the country, and the sector is now worth more than $34 billion, according to the Turkish Foreign Ministry. Besides the construction sector, Turkmenistan’s textile and tourism sectors are other areas that have seen active private involvement from Turkey.