Turkey voices strong economic, trade interest in Africa

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Turkish officials have expressed strong interest in boosting economic and trade relations with Africa at a key joint forum in Istanbul, where their African counterparts welcomed the call.

"We have always regarded our African friends as our brothers. Our policy of opening up to Africa is not just the reflection of a transient political and economic expectation. On the contrary, it is the product of a process with strong historical and cultural aspects," Turkish Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said Nov. 2 at the Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum.

The conference, which began Nov. 2, will end on Nov. 3.

"One of the main constituents of our comprehensive interest in Africa is composed of economic and trade relations. In this vein, we signed trade and economic cooperation agreements and created mixed economic commission mechanisms with a total of 40 African countries so far. We have embassies in 39 African countries, but this is not enough for us. Our desire is to open embassies across the whole continent," said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the meeting.

The forum, jointly organized by Turkey's Economy Ministry, the African Union Commission, Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) and Turkish Exporters Assembly (TİM), is expected to provide a unique platform for business circles of Turkey and African countries to create long-lasting cooperation.

Erdoğan said Turkey had signed agreements with 19 African countries to mutually encourage and preserve investments, free trade deals with four countries and other agreements to prevent double taxation with nine countries.

He also noted that business councils had been established in 33 African countries under DEİK's leadership.
"While our trade with Africa...

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