Turkey signs crucial contracts to broaden its aviation corridor to African countries
IZMIR - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey’s Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım (L) presents gifts to guest ministers at the Turkey-Africa Civil Aviation Conference in the Aegean province of İzmir. Minister Yıldırım has signed 36 aviation contracts with 36 countries. DHA photoThe air corridor to Africa, that Turkey has initiated with 130 flights to 20 destinations in 16 different countries, will move into a new phase with the air transportation agreements signed between Turkey and African countries, Turkish Transportation Minister Binali Yıldırım said, speaking at the Turkey-Africa Civil Aviation Conference, which took place in Turkey’s Aegean province of İzmir May 31. Yıldırım said relationships with African countries had been re-built on justice, tolerance and principles of mutual gain.
A milestone in aviation ties with Africa
“I believe this conference will be a milestone in terms of Turkish-African civil aviation relations. With the new agreements, the air corridor will enter a new phase,” Yıldırım said. “We know the number of 1 million passengers is not significant on a continent of 1 billion, but this number will increase easily. The way is open for that.” Turkey and 15 African countries signed mutual civil aviation agreements.
High-level officials and representatives, as well as ministers from 35 African countries, are participating in the conference. Participants are discussing adding new destinations to the existing flight network between Turkey and Africa, as well as increasing the number of flights. Turkey acts as a bridge between Asia, Europe and Africa, Yıldırım said, adding that Turkey was also an Afro-Eurasian country.
The minister said Turkey had developed its own build-operate-transfer model to construct airports and built and modernized airports in Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria.
“It is possible that this model will spread in Sub-Saharan countries. We are ready to cooperate for this aim.”
Help in training
The minister also said Turkey may help train aviation personnel and provide technical services to African countries.
For his part, Deputy Foreign Minister Naci Koru said Turkey believed in the bright future of Africa and that he hoped Turkey’s interest in Africa was seen as sincere.
Speaking on the behalf of the visiting delegates, Ivory Coast Transportation Minister Toure Gaoussou said they supported Turkey’s development vision. “Turkey’s development vision is a proper one for Africa. If Turkey wants to have its own share from Africa’s development, they should enhance their presence,” Gaoussou said.