17 August 2016 Wednesday
Turkey’s ties to Africa are centuries-old and based on a “win-win relationship”, Esra Demir, Turkish ambassador to the Ivory Coast has told Anadolu Agency.
“Since 2002, the number of our embassies in Africa has risen from 17 to 39. It is therefore obvious that we show great interest in our African friends. But it is not only economically – we are in a win-win relationship which will continue and intensify,” she said.
Talking about economic cooperation, the ambassador said:
“The Turkish and Ivorian presidents had set a goal – a trade volume of one billion dollars by 2020. We have noticed that we are moving towards this direction. During the first half of 2016, the trade volume increased from $183 to $219 million, an increase of 20 percent compared to last year.”
Demir also welcomed the solidarity of shown by several African leaders to Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt.
She sincerely thanked the Ivorian president Alassane Ouattara and Foreign Minister Albert Toikeusse Mabri for their messages of support.
On another level, the Turkish diplomat denounced the reservations of some Western countries on measures taken by the state against those accused of involvement in the attempted coup, stressing that the Turkish people expected a different reaction from those who say they “are apostles of democracy”.
“The Turkish people showed maturity and courage by taking to the streets. There were 240 people who died in the shootings but the citizens did not give up and they were successful… It was later expected that countries should show solidarity.
“But this was not the case. Instead of support; the heroic struggle of the Turkish people has seen a lot of criticisms. That is not easy to digest,” Demir said.
She added that “none of these countries who present themselves as apostles of democracy came to visit the half-destroyed parliament or the people who had gathered spontaneously under bombardment the night of the coup attempt”.
Regarding the fight against terrorism, Demir said that Turkey and several African countries, including the Ivory Coast, have to cooperate in the exchange of information in order to maintain stability and security.
In this regard, she said she had informed the Ivorian authorities of the presence in the country of “dangerous nuclei,” namely the Fetullah Terrorist Organization or FETO, accused of being the instigator of the Turkish coup attempt. She added it is the Ivorian decision makers who will settle on what measures are to be taken.
“Children who come out from the institutions of this conspirator [a reference to Fetullah Gulen] become his unconditional followers… We must therefore be vigilant,” warned Demir.
Asked whether Turkey would be able to overcome difficulties in securing the closure of Gulen-linked institutions in the Ivory Coast, the ambassador said that her country was always ready to support friendly states.
Focusing instead on obstacles related to Gulen’s extradition by the United States, Demir said that procedure is still ongoing.
“We have prepared the file, there are a lot of confessions and many testimonies are in it. We have not yet received a negative response but it will continue. We expect his extradition as soon as possible,” she said.
Source: World Bulletin.