Turkish PM to tour Africa
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan (back R), his spouse Emine Erdoğan (3rd R) pose with Somalia President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in Somalia in this 2011 photo. Erdoğan will travel to Africa again, visitng Niger, Gabon and Senegal. AA photo
Turkey will sign several bilateral agreements with three African countries during Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s tour to take concrete steps which will further develop Turkey’s relations with the African continent.
Erdoğan is scheduled to depart Turkey on Jan. 6 in order to pay consecutive visits to Gabon, Niger and Senegal, respectively.
The bilateral agreements to be signed will cover fields of cooperation such as agriculture, transportation, industry and energy, while business forums will be held in each of the three countries. The prime minister will be accompanied by a delegation from members of the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM).
The prime minister’s visit is expected to contribute to Turkey’s decade-long efforts to boost its profile on the continent and promote it as a model Muslim democracy.
In the last few years Turkey has been reaching out to different regions in need and has taken a leading role in the redevelopment of these regions, with Africa being the most visible example. Coordination with civil society organizations in these efforts has been maintained, while the Prime Ministry’s Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) and Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) play a key role in the coordination.
“Turkey is the most rapidly rising donor country. As the most important instrument of this, TİKA is an institution which has now become a brand in the international field. When you say TİKA in Africa, it has a completely different meaning. First, faces are smiling; then they are opening every kind of field with the thought that an aid will soon come,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on Jan. 2 in a speech delivered at his ministry’s ongoing Fifth Ambassadors’ Conference, the theme of which was “humanitarian diplomacy.”
In addition to reviewing relations with the three countries, the visits will also provide an opportunity to discuss developments concerning Africa. Since declaring 2005 the “Year of Africa,” Turkey has expanded its diplomatic footprint in the continent as a precursor to opening new supply routes for its fast-growing, resource-hungry economy.
Erdoğan’s first stop will be Gabon’s Libreville on Jan. 7, where he will hold talks with both Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba and Prime Minister Raymond Ndong Sima. He will also address the Gabonese Parliament.
Following Libreville, Erdoğan will proceed to Niamey, Niger, on Jan. 8 to meet Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou.
In Dakar, the last stop of his tour, Erdoğan will hold talks with Senegalese President Macky Sall and Prime Minister Abdoul Mbaye through Jan. 9-11.