JOHANNESBURG: Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday wound up a visit to Angola, the first leg of a three-nation African tour, where he accused the West of ignoring calls for change on the continent. Since taking office nearly two decades ago, first as prime minister, Erdogan has been fostering ties with Africa, presenting Turkey as a fairer player than the continent’s former colonial powers and China.
“We as Turkey attach great importance and value to our close cooperation with the continent of Africa,” he told business leaders in Luanda on Monday evening, according to a statement from his AK party. “We desire to advance our relations on the basis of win-win and equal partnership while observing mutual respect”.
In an earlier address to the Angolan parliament posted on the Turkish presidency website, he said “the fate of the humanity cannot and should not be left to the mercy of a handful of countries that were the victors of the Second World War”. “Ignoring the demands for change is an injustice to Africa,” he added, noting that Turkey bore “no stain” of imperialism or colonialism and rejected “Western-centric Orientalist approaches” to the continent.
In talks with his Angolan counterpart Joao Lourenco, he touted Turkey’s natural gas reserves and distribution network, which he said “would be pleased to share our experiences”. Erdogan’s next stop is Togo, followed by Africa’s economic powerhouse Nigeria. Before travelling to Angola, Erdogan boasted 38 visits to 28 countries since he became prime minister in 2003. Turkey has 43 embassies on the continent and its national airline is now serving more than 60 African cities, including a direct link between Istanbul and Luanda launched last week. – AFP