Minister of National Defence Tea Banh departed for Turkey on Sunday on a six-day official visit.
A press release issued before his departure said Banh is leading a delegation to meet with Turkish Minister of Defence Hulusi Akar, with whom he will discuss defence cooperation.
“Tea Banh, accompanied by a delegation from the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, will meet and discuss work with Turkish Minister of Defence Hulusi Akar in relation to cooperation between the ministries of national defence of the two countries,” the press release said.
Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
The director of International Relations Institute at the Royal Academy of Cambodia Kin Phea said the visit will aid the Kingdom in its goal to have Turkey become a strategic defence partner in order to further protect the nation.
“Relations between Cambodia and Turkey are growing remarkably through subsequent visits of the leaders. It shows the growth of relations.
“With regard to the national defence of the two countries, we have commitments to strengthen and expand cooperation to provide mutual support in regional and global work,” he said.
Former CNRP lawmaker Ou Chanrath said he does not see Turkey playing a major role in Cambodia.
“Turkey has not significantly helped Cambodia, both in the military and economic sectors,” he said.
Cambodia and Turkey have had diplomatic relations since 1970. Relations were cut under the Khmer Rouge but were renewed in 1993. Relations grew after Prime Minister Hun Sen visited Turkey in October 2018.
During his visit, Hun Sen and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a number of agreements, including for the opening of a Cambodian embassy in Ankara. Turkey also opened an embassy in Phnom Penh.
The two nations are aiming to boost bilateral trade and investments to $1 billion annually, said the Ministry of Commerce.
Data from the ministry showed bilateral trade between 2014 and 2018 was about $510 million. Of that, Cambodian exports were valued at $437.84 million compared to imports of about $72 million.