UPDATES WITH MORE QUOTES FROM MINISTER CAVUSOGLU
By Merve Aydogan
ANKARA (AA) – The Turkish foreign minister vowed on Tuesday to further strengthen relations with African countries, citing the fact that the number of African missions in Ankara has increased from 10 to 37 in the last 13 years as evidence.
Speaking at the official inauguration ceremony of the Zimbabwe Embassy in Ankara, Mevlut Cavusoglu said Africa holds a special place for Turkey, and "with the opening of Zimbabwe Embassy in Ankara, it is evident that our relations are growing stronger each day."
"This Embassy will further develop links between our business people as well as flourishing education and tourism between our nations," he said.
The foreign minister noted that 13 years ago, there were just ten African embassies, which has since expanded to 37.
"So the increase has been 27 within 13 years. Indeed this is a reflection of deepening of relations with Africa," Cavusoglu said.
He also announced that the Turkish Embassy in Guinea-Bissau will open soon, bringing the total number of Turkish embassies in Africa to 44.
"We will further enhance our relations with Africa at all platforms," Cavusoglu pledged.
– 'Third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit to be held in September'
Following the opening ceremony of the Zimbabwe Embassy, Cavusoglu went on to officially open the Guinea-Bissau Embassy in Ankara.
"Today, we are experiencing rather an 'Africa day' in Ankara," Turkish minister said at the event, which was also attended by Suzi Carla Barbosa, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Guinea-Bissau, and Frederick Shava, Zimbabwe's Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
Telling that it's a "historic moment" in bilateral relations between the two countries, Cavusoglu said: "Opening of Ankara Embassy of Guinea-Bissau today, will significantly contribute to our relations."
He once again reiterated Turkey's plans to soon open an embassy at Guinea-Bissau, and adding that Turkey has "the will, determination and a roadmap to further develop our relations with Guinea-Bissau, Zimbabwe and all African countries."
The Turkish minister also announced plans to host the "Third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit" in September.
"We have proposed some dates to the African Union and waiting for a response from them (African Union)," Cavusoglu added.