The high level two-day visit to Algeria by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accompanied with six cabinet ministers and a large business delegation aimed at boosting ties on energy cooperation between the two countries.
President Erdogan said Turkish and Algerian companies have renewed liquefied natural gas (LNG) contracts for another 10 years, stressing that this was the most important step between the two countries.
Turkey's original contract to acquire 4 billion cubic meters ( bcm) of LNG from Algeria's Sonatrach expires in December. With the joint declaration issued on Wednesday, the same contract was extended for another 10 years.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yldz earlier revealed that Turkey wanted to renew the contract and had already reached a basic understanding. But he made it clear that Turkey wants the deliveries could be on time.
Delays on delivery of LNG from Algeria have become an issue in recent years and this has created difficulties for Turkey, especially during winter months when demand for gas to heat homes and run power plants soars.
Turkey imports almost all natural gas needs from abroad and nearly half of its power plants run on gas.
Besides Algeria, Ankara has an LNG agreement with Nigeria and imports gas through pipelines from Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan.
The energy deal also covered cooperation among Turkish and Algerian firms in areas of production and exploration of natural gas, renewable energies including solar power, and power plant management and distribution of electricity.
Erdogan's visit to Algeria marks the first for the Turkish president since 1999. He visited the country in 2013 as prime minister.
According to Hasan Dogan, the Turkish president's personal secretary, the visit also represented Erdogan's first contact in African continent as president since his election victory in August.
Erdogan's visit to Algeria was accompanied by Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker and Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus.
Speaking on the Turkey-Algeria business forum, Erdogan declared that the trade volume between the two countries was not enough, saying if they work harder, a target of 10 billion U.S. dollars could be easily reached in near future.
According to Turkish government data, the trade volume between the two countries was 2.7 billion dollars as of 2013. In the first nine months of 2014, the volume has increased by 8 percent, reaching 2.3 billion dollars, from 2.1 billion dollars over the same period in 2013.
Ahmet Aydin, deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party Parliamentary group who attended the business meetings, said the intensive interest in the forum has increased hopes for the Turkish delegation.
Turkey is also active in construction and contracting industries in Algeria with 244 Turkish contractors operating in the country. According to the Turkish president, Turkish firms have undertaken some 11 billion dollars worth of projects as of October 2014.
Erdogan said Turkey wants to acquire more contracts and construction projects with the help of the Algerian government. He added that Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika told him he was happy with the performance of Turkish companies.
Erdogan underlined that he has been encouraging Turkish companies to invest more in production facilities in Algeria especially in textile. Turkey has already made invested an estimated 2 billion dollars in the North African country so far, the president said.
Turkey and Algeria has also been cooperating on defense industry with an agreement in research and development in the defense industry signed on May 7, 2013.
The agreement sees cooperation on joint projects in R&D and the design and development of military equipment, weapon systems and auxiliary equipment.
Cooperation on agriculture, health and education was also among issues in the agenda of the two leaders.
Erdogan and Bouteflika have also discussed regional issues such as the importance of territorial integrity of Iraq and the significance of reconciliation process between Palestinian factions.
Both leaders have also emphasized the opposition against foreign interference in Libya's internal affairs.