Turkish-African Cooperation Summit Held in Istanbul
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Addressing the first Turkish-African Cooperation Summit in Istanbul, President Abdullah Gul said, "Turkey is ready to share all its experience and knowledge in all areas with African countries. It aims to improve solidarity and cooperative relations with the continent for a common future." He added that the summit was an important milestone in relations between Turkey and African countries. "With this summit, Istanbul, bringing us together with our African friends, has symbolically joined the three continents of the world: Europe, Asia and Africa." "Relations between Turkey and the continent have seen a rapid transformation in recent years. While Turkey declared 2005 theYear of Africa, relations took on a new momentum with mutual visits and theAfrican Union's decision this January to declare Turkey a strategic partner."
Touching on Turkey's rising aid efforts to the continent, President Gulsaid, "Turkey's development assistances towards the continent have been welcomed by our African friends." He added, "The activities of the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) activities are especially appreciated in Africa." Asked about his meeting with Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, Gul said they had discussed the controversy over the Darfur issue. "I told him that human suffering causes concern among everyone, no matter the religion, ethnicity or language of the people who are suffering," he said. "I told the president (al-Bashir) that the Sudanese government should work hard to address this matter." Asked if African countries support Turkey's candidacy for a nonpermanent seat on the UN Security Council, Gul said Turkey's bid enjoys widespread African support.
On the final day of the First Turkish-African Cooperation Summit, President Abdullah Gul hosted a breakfast for leaders, representatives and businessmen from participating countries at the Ciragan Palace. Gul, Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodities Exchanges (TOBB) head Rifat Hisarciklioglu and Muhammad Al Masri, head of the African Chambers Union, also signed a protocol establishing the Turkish-African Chamber (TAC). The new chamber is designed to boost trade relations between Turkey and the continent. "Our aim is to improve trade relations, increase investments, establish a conducive business environment for investments, promote knowledge and technology transfers, and develop a logistics infrastructure between Turkey and African countries," said a statement about the new chamber. It added that the TAC would help institutionalize cooperation between Turkish and African business organizations.