President Abdullah Gül will tomorrow depart for the African continent for a tour that will take in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), during which he will hold talks in preparation for the Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit, which will be held in İstanbul in August.
Gül's visit comes as Ankara steps up efforts to forge closer ties with Africa. Turkey has been planning to open new consulates in Africa in 2008 in Mali, Chad, Niger, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Madagascar, Mozambique, Cameroon and Tanzania. More consulates in other African countries are planned for 2009.
The Turkish capital expects 2008 to be the year in which it will deepen its relations with African countries. With the cooperation summit in August, Ankara will become a member of the "strategic partners group" of Africa.
On his four-day tour Gül will first visit Tanzania, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the African Union. Following his visits to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Congo-Brazzaville, Gül will in March attend an upcoming summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) that will be hosted in the Senegalese capital of Dakar. Turkey's bid for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council will be a leading topic of Gül's visit, with Ankara seeking African countries' support for its bid.
Turkey's trade volume with African counties, which stood at $5.4 billion in 2003, reached $12 billion by the end of 2006. Ankara aims at raising this figure to $30 billion in the near future. Several businessmen from the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) will also accompany Gül during the trip. TUSKON, which organized a Turkish export fair in Tanzania on May 31 to June 3 of last year, plans to establish a trade and investment bridge between the two countries as well as develop business opportunities there.
TUSKON held the first Turkey-Africa Foreign Trade Bridge program in May 2006, and plans to hold its third such program this year. Meanwhile, in line with Turkey's goal of full assistance for African countries, the Turkish Cooperation and Development Administration (TİKA) has opened three offices on the continent since 2005.
Announcing Gül's visit to African countries, the president's press office noted that the president is also scheduled to attend a regular intergovernmental meeting of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which will be held in Accra, Ghana, in late April. The UNCTAD Secretariat and ambassadors of Africa's least developed countries (LDCs) in Geneva are planning to hold a workshop in İzmir in early March in preparation for the meeting in Ghana, the press office also noted.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Şubat 2008, 14:35