Turkiye, Africa

Africa's priorities are Turkey's too: Turkish president

Erdogan speaks at Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum in Istanbul

Africa's priorities are Turkey's too: Turkish president Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C) and President of Chad Idriss Deby (right 5) attend opening session of Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum at Lutfi Kirdar Congress Center in Istanbul, Turkey on November 02, 2016. ( Kayhan Özer - Anadolu Agency )

By Bahattin Gonultas


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that Africa's priorities were Turkey's as well.

Erdogan spoke at the Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum in Istanbul, which highlights Turkey's strategy to enhance bilateral trade with the African continent.

“We share a common fate. We consider the priority of the African continent as our priority. There is a nice African proverb that says one day's rain cannot get deep into the soil. We would like to remain friends forever,” he said.

First an observer country (2005) then a strategic partner (2008) of the African Union, Turkey has also been accepted as a non-regional member of the African Development Bank (2008).

The Turkish president stressed that the Western world was still furthering its colonial agenda by using globalization.

“In the name of globalization, one growth model has been dictated to different countries," he said. “If you want to grow your economy, you need to find the IMF, the World Bank or an interest rate hike. […] You must obey the definition of democracy. In order to be part of the global system, you have to obey the current system unconditionally.”

"The culture of our African brothers is not taken into consideration. The contemporary globalization is a new form of colonialism, of modern slavery,” Erdogan added.

Erdogan warns African nations about FETO

The Turkish president also stressed terrorism's role in damaging economic growth and asked African nations to support his country in its fight against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization's (FETO).

“The international fight against terrorism needs international solidarity, otherwise we will fail,” he said.

During the July 15 coup attempt, 246 people were martyred and 2,194 others injured, leading to a nationwide probe in Turkey to eliminate Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) sleeper cells which had infiltrated state institutions such as the judiciary and the army.

Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in Pennsylvania since 1999, is accused of being the FETO ringleader and mastermind behind the coup attempt.

The president said that Turkey’s Ministry of Education had started taking over schools related to FETO in many countries, and asked African leaders to cooperate with Turkey on the issue.

“This organization is very active on the continent. This terrorist organization is in 170 countries. The African continent is abused by this FETO organization. […] It is my duty to warn you,” he said.

Erdogan said that Turkey would seek to increase its diplomatic representations on the continent, from the current 39.

“We are going to establish an embassy in every country of the African continent,” he said. “Turkey’s foreign direct investments in the continent has reached $3.9 billion. The trade volume between Turkey and the continent increased to $17.5 billion in 2015 from $7 billion in 2005."

Erdogan also said that Turkish investors have shown interest in the continent in recent years.

“If you want to go fast, you go alone,” he said. “If you want to go far, we will go together, hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder and side by side," he concluded.

International business leaders met in Istanbul on Wednesday at the two-day Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum.

The forum, jointly organized by the Turkish Ministry of Economy, the African Union Commission, the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) and the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM), aims to provide a platform for the business circles of Turkey and African countries to create a long-lasting cooperation, according to the forum's official webpage.

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