Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan left for Gabon on Sunday, the first stop of his three-nation African tour.
“Turkey has been exerting efforts for development of Africa,” Erdogan told a press conference at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul before his departure for Gabon.
Erdogan will visit Gabon, Niger and Senegal in his first foreign trip abroad in the new year, he will meet with officials, participate in business forums and sign several agreements during the six-day African tour.
The Turkish premier’s first stop will be Gabon, where he is set to meet with Gabonese President Ali Ben Bongo Ondimba and the country’s Prime Minister Raymond Ndong Sima and appear in a joint press conference.
Accompanied by a large delegation of Turkish businesspeople, Erdogan will speak in a Turkish-Gabonese business forum which would seek cooperation opportunities in trade and investment.
Erdogan will visit Niger on January 8 on the second stop of his African tour and meet with President Mahamadou Issoufou and chair meetings between Turkish and Nigerien officials.
On January 10, Erdogan will arrive in Senegal, the last stop of the tour and he will meet with President Macky Sall and Prime Minister Abdoul Mbaye and the two premiers will chair meetings between Turkish and Senegalese officials.
Turkey’s exports to Senegal stood at $109 million in the January-October period of 2012, down from $116 millon over the same period a year earlier.
Turkey has opened embassies in 19 African countries in the last three years to bring the total number of its top diplomatic missions in the continent to 31.
Premier Erdogan said that they aimed to increase the number of embassies to 34 within next few months.
Turkey’s trade volume which had been 5 billion US dollars in 2003 increased to 17 billion US dollars at the end of 2011, he said.
General amnesty impossible for those involved in terror
Erdogan said that a general amnesty was impossible for those who have been engaged in terror.
“There are rumors about house arrest for Ocalan (the head of terrorist organization PKK). This could never happen during the Justice and Development Party’s rule,” Erdogan said.
Replying to a question on the process regarding Imrali island where the head of the terrorist organization is being kept, Erdogan said that it was not a new process. “All these efforts aim to be successful in combating terrorism,” he said.