President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that Turkey is set to have 54 diplomatic missions in 54 African nations to strengthen relations and solidarity with the continent.
Turkey currently has 39 missions in Africa.
Each country is important for Turkey, Erdogan said at a joint press conference with his Beninese counterpart Patrice Talon in Ankara.
"All [African] countries matter to Turkey, thus, I think, our ties with Africa should be strengthened much more in order to keep this friendship and solidarity together," Erdogan said.
The president also said both leaders agreed that three schools in Benin linked to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) would be taken over by a Turkish educational foundation.
The FETO group is led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen and is accused of orchestrating a recent failed deadly coup attempt in Turkey.
Turkey’s government has also accused the group of pursuing a long-running campaign to overthrow the state by infiltrating vital institutions including the military, police and judiciary.
The July 15 failed coup attempt resulted in 248 martyrs and some 2,200 people injured.
Turkey has called on numerous countries to close FETO-linked schools, colleges and businesses operating on their territory, following the overthrow attempt.
Turkey signed a protocol Nov. 18 with Chad for the transfer of all FETO-linked schools there to Turkey’s Maarif Foundation.
Talon said Benin has a lot to learn from Turkey which he said is "a rising power."
On a possible visit to Benin by Erdogan, Talon said: "It will be a very good news for the whole south of Saharan [countries] and it will indicate the cooperation. Maybe many African countries will feel jealous. Because we, as all African countries, admire Turkey."
*Reporting by Enes Kaplan & Kemal Karadag; Writing by Burcu Arik
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