Turkey in Africa ‘for a win-win relationship’
ABIDJAN – Anadolu AgencyTurkey’s ties to Africa are centuries-old and based on a “win-win relationship,” Esra Demir, Turkish ambassador to the Ivory Coast, has told Anadolu Agency.
“Since 2002, the number of our embassies in Africa has risen from 17 to 39. It is therefore obvious that we are showing great interest in our African friends. But it is not only economically – we are in a win-win relationship which will continue and intensify,” she said.
Talking about economic cooperation, the ambassador said the Turkish and Ivorian presidents had set a goal – a trade volume of $1 billion dollars by 2020.
“We have noticed that we are moving toward this direction. During the first half of 2016, the trade volume increased from $183 million to $219 million, an increase of 20 percent compared to last year.”
Demir also welcomed the solidarity shown by several African leaders to Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt.
She thanked Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara and Foreign Minister Albert Toikeusse Mabri for their messages of support.
Regarding the fight against terrorism, Demir said Turkey and several African countries, including the Ivory Coast, had to cooperate in the exchange of information in order to maintain stability and security.
In this regard, she said she had informed the Ivorian authorities of the presence in the country of “dangerous nuclei,” namely the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), accused of being the instigator of the Turkish coup attempt. She added it was Ivorian decision-makers who would settle on what measures to take.
“Children who come out from the institutions of this conspirator [a reference to Fethullah Gülen] become his unconditional followers… We must therefore be vigilant,” said Demir.
Asked whether Turkey would be able to overcome difficulties in securing the closure of Gülen-linked institutions in the Ivory Coast, the ambassador said Turkey was always ready to support friendly states.