Turkish president to pay new year’s first visits to Ethiopia, Djibouti
AA PhotoTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will pay consecutive official visits to Ethiopia and Djibouti later this month, marking his first official visits this year.
A large delegation of ministers, bureaucrats and businesspersons will accompany Erdoğan during his visit to Addis Ababa on Jan. 22, when he will meet both with Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, while also co-chairing inter-delegation meetings, according to a statement posted on the official webpage of the presidency on Jan. 13.
On Jan. 23, Erdoğan and the accompanying delegation will proceed to Djibouti where he will hold talks with his counterpart, President Ismail Omar Guelleh, while also again co-chairing inter-delegation meetings.
Noting that business forums would be held during the visits in addition to reviewing of bilateral cooperation issues regional issues and developments in the African continent, the statement underlined how the Horn of Africa is “the strategic gate of the continent which opens to the Middle East and the world.”
“Additionally, in regional aspect, it [the visits] will once more accelerate relations with its strategic partner African continent, which gradually gets deepened further each passing day,” said the statement.
Turkey currently has some 35 embassies in Africa, second only to France. About 15 opened in the last few years. The red Turkish flag flies, for instance, across Mogadishu, Turkish firms playing the lead role in post-war construction. In 2005, the number of Turkish embassies in the continent was 12.
Aliyev to Ankara
Ahead of his visit to the African continent, Erdoğan will host Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev in Ankara on Jan. 15.
On the occasion of the official visit by Aliyev, fifth meeting of Turkey-Azerbaijan High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council will be held. The meeting will be co-chaired by the two presidents.
Çavuşoğlu to Qatar, Kuwait, Yemen after Cyprus
Amid this flurry of diplomatic activity, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu will pay consecutive visits to Kuwait and Qatar from Jan. 17 to Jan. 21. Tentatively on the agenda, Yemen may also be included on this agenda, officials also said.
The visit to Qatar comes shortly after the Gulf kingdom announced its determination to thaw ties with Egypt, diverging from an agreement with Turkey over opposition to the Cairo government, only a few days after renewing commitments to have closer relations with Ankara, which has put pressure on Turkey to review its policy on Egypt.
In late December, on the recent signs of Egypt-Qatar reconciliation, Çavuşoğlu said: “Our relationship with Qatar is perfect and we would like to see its relations with other countries be good as well.”
A day before Çavuşoğlu’s remarks, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç had said Turkey’s bilateral ties with Egypt could “normalize if the country properly returns to democracy and if the Egyptian people’s free will is reflected in politics and social life.”
Qatar recently mended fences with Egypt after a tense standoff triggered by Qatar’s alleged support to the Muslim Brotherhood, the party of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi who was ousted by the army in July 2013.
This followed Doha’s rapprochement with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which returned their envoys to Qatar after months of tensions over its position on the Brotherhood and accusations of meddling in their affairs.
Çavuşoğlu will, meanwhile, travel to Turkish Cyprus for a working visit today [Jan. 14]. He will hold talks with President Derviş Eroğlu, Speaker of the Republican Assembly Sibel Siber, Prime Minister Özkan Yorgancıoğlu and Foreign Minister Özdil Nami in order to exchange views on the current phase of the Cyprus issue.