Turkey’s top diplomat to visit three former French colonies in Africa
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu started his working visit to Western African countries including Mali, Guinea-Bissau, and Senegal on Sept.9.
Çavuşoğlu will visit Mali on Sept.9 and meet members of the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and representatives from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as well as the African Union, according to the statement by the Foreign Ministry.
The minister and the officials will address political transition in the country as well as bilateral relations, regional and international matters, read the statement.
Following the visit to Mali, Çavuşoğlu will pay a visit to Guinea-Bissau and Senegal on Sept. 10 and 11.
The visits to Guinea-Bissau and Senegal will be the first official visit at the foreign minister level. Çavuşoğlu and his counterparts will address bilateral relations at all levels and review possible new cooperation between the two countries as well as will discuss regional and international matters, added the statement.
Relations between NATO allies Turkey and France have deteriorated over conflicting policies in Syria and Libya and Turkey’s dispute with Greece over energy resources, and the two sides have traded barbs in recent weeks.
Ankara accuses Paris of politically backing Libya’s Khalifa Haftar against the Tripoli-based government recognized by the U.N.
Turkey and France also almost came to blows in June after a French warship attempted to inspect a Turkish vessel as part of a U.N. arms embargo against Libya.
Turkish officials have been criticizing France’s colonial past and argue Paris still pursues imperialist policies for the eastern Mediterranean despite having no borders in the region.