‘Turkey’s Africa approach not one-sided, based on mutual benefit’
President Abdullah Gül has said Turkey always had an approach towards Africa that has prioritized benefits for both parties, and that Turkey recognizes that nations on the continent have suffered a lot as a result of centuries-long colonialism.
Gül addressed Turkish and Ghanaian businesspeople attending a business forum organized by the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) in the West African country’s capital Accra on Thursday. “Relations that are based on one-sided profit are wrong and mostly aimed at colonialism. We, however, give priority to mutual benefits in our relations [with Africa]. We do not only want to trade, we also attach substantial importance to investment. I firmly believe that the best contribution to Africa’s development is investing in these lands,” he said at the forum.
Elaborating on what he calls Turkey’s genuine interest in Africa, Gül added: “We are aware that the problems Africa faces are too heavy to be solely left on Africa’s shoulders. We believe that it is a must to share those problems and lend support to the continent [to solve them]. As long as the social and economic gap between the North and the South remains, the world will frequently face economic crises and more serious social and political troubles.”
Gül travelled to Ghana on Wednesday with a large business delegation. As part of this official visit he met with his Ghanaian counterpart, President John Evans Fifii Atta Mills, and addressed lawmakers at the country’s parliament and also visited the Galaxy International School, which was established by Turkish education volunteers with funding from Turkish philanthropists in 2001. The president was also accompanied by Minister of State Faruk Nafiz Özak, Minister of Defense Vecdi Gönül and Minister of Transportation Mehmet Habib Soluk. Gül emphasized that most of the people accompanying him on his visit to Ghana were businesspeople and investors and said it is indicative of the interest Turkey shows in the western African nation. He placed particular emphasis on education, healthcare and tourism investments in the country.
Also speaking at the forum, TUSKON President Rızanur Meral said Turkish businesspeople would get to meet with their Ghanaian counterparts during the forum and there are investment opportunities in the fields of agriculture, tourism, oil exploration, mining, ready-to-wear clothing and the construction in the West African nation. Ghanaian Minister for Trade and Industry Hanna Tetteh also spoke during the forum and invited Turkish businesspeople to invest in infrastructure and transportation in her country. “Turkey is a country we can a lot learn from,” she said.
Raft of agreements signed
Following a meeting at Ghanaian presidential palace, Gül and Mills attended the meeting between Turkish and Ghanaian delegations where ministers Özak, Gönül and Soluk were also present. This meeting was preceded by the signing of memorandums of understanding in the fields of aviation, healthcare, military training and for the mutual removal of visa requirements for each other’s nationals who hold diplomatic passports.
Later on, the two heads of states held a joint press conference and expressed their commitment to improving bilateral relations. “These agreements will serve our common interests. They will contribute to Ghana’s development. What we need to do is to implement them before they start gathering dust on the shelf,” Mills told reporters at the conference.
Gül was received by a cheerful crowd and students at the Turkish school in Accra, which was his last stop in Ghana as part of this visit before moving on to Gabon. Having watched the dance performances by the students, Gül later took a tour of the school. “We are proud that you have the Turkish and Ghanaian flags flying next to each other thousands of kilometers away from the home,” Gül told school’s principal Tamer Kırca. The school currently has over 500 students from 58 nationalities and is one of the top five among its kind in Ghana, Kırca said. Gül offered his own pen to a student who presented him with two drawings as a gift.
- Rome Protest Turns Up Heat On New PM Letta
- North Korea Fires Three Short-Range Missiles
- GOP hopes IRS scandal will snag health care law
- Japan Economy on the Road to Recovery
- Assad: Syria transition talks are internal matter
- Suspected US drone in Yemen kills 4 militants
- WHO: Death Toll From New Bird Flu In China Rises To 36
- Former Argentine Dictator Videla Dies In Prison At Age 87
- IMF says Cyprus at risk of even deeper recession
- UN says Syrian refugees top 1.5M