Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkish companies are undertaking more than 1,150 projects in the African continent, worth nearly $70 billion.
This came in statements he made during a meeting with African youth at the Ummah Library in the capital, Ankara, on the sidelines of the third summit of the Turkish-African Partnership.
Istanbul hosted the third summit of the Turkish-African Partnership between December 16-18, with a large presence.
President Erdoğan indicated that the value of investments carried out by Turks across the African continent currently exceeds 6 billion dollars.
He stated that Turkish companies provide job opportunities for tens of thousands of people from the African continent, and Turkey will continue its relations on the basis of mutual profit.
He stressed that Turkey considers African countries as permanent neighbors and friends, despite the separation distance, and shares the vision with them on the continent’s issues.
He stressed that there are more than 70,000 graduates from Turkey’s universities within the framework of scholarships, and some of them have become ministers, businessmen and politicians.
He pointed out that 14,000 Africans have benefited from these Turkish scholarships, and that he encounters a number of them during his visit to the countries of the continent, and is proud of their successes.
He explained that Turkish institutions such as the Knowledge Endowment, the Turkish Cooperation, and Coordination Agency “TIKA” and the Yunus Emre Institute are implementing important projects in the countries of the continent.
President Erdogan called on African youth to consider Turkey as their second home, stressing that Turkish institutions will continue to provide them with support.
In response to a question by a young man about Turkey’s role in ending conflicts and political differences in some African countries.
Erdogan said that his country urges the countries of the continent to make their own decisions and not leave it to Western powers.
He pointed out that the Western powers tore the Islamic world apart, calling on the youth participating in the meeting to prepare and qualify themselves well in order to run their countries in the future.
Regarding Turkey’s future political, commercial, and cultural goals regarding its relations with Africa, Erdogan said that the number of Turkish embassies on the continent rose to 42, up from 12 when the Justice and Development Party came to power.
He added, “Our goal is to raise the number to 50 embassies, as well as increase the number of embassies of African countries in Turkey.”
The meeting was also attended by the assistant coach of the Turkish club Basaksehir, the Cameroonian player Pierre Wibo, who thanked President Erdogan for his support to the African continent.
Weibo touched on the racist speech he was subjected to on December 8, 2020 during a match with Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League by fourth official Sebastian Coltescu.
Wibo noted that this incident made the world see him as an ambassador for Turkey, suggesting that President Erdogan be Turkey’s ambassador to Cameroon and all over Africa.
The aforementioned incident was met with reactions and denunciations by a number of clubs and players around the world, who all affirmed their rejection of all forms of racism and discrimination wherever and whenever.
When asked about the reason why Turks love African players, Erdogan said that success stands behind this and that there is almost no Turkish club without African players anymore.
On the possible measures to be taken to combat racism, Erdogan said that the AKP has a strict stance against racism, which is originally prohibited in the Islamic religion.
He expressed his regret over the positions adopted by the Turkish opposition in the recent period towards the Syrians, for example, and its pledge to deport them to their country if it takes power.
He stated that Turkey is currently hosting about 5 million asylum seekers, including about 4 million from Syria and others from Iraq, all of whom are guests and did not leave their country willingly.
He stressed that these people left their land because they could not find possibilities to live in it, and Turkey opened its doors to them and embraced them, and it cannot expel them at all.