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Erdogan seeks to boost ties at Turkey-Africa summit

Turkey is aiming to deepen economic and military ties on Africa, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in remarks at a major summit of African heads in Istanbul, and called for a seat representing the continent at the UN Security Council.

Heads of state from 16 African nations, along with more than 102 ministers and representatives of the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States are attending the summit in Istanbul.

The Third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit follows a flurry of activity by Turkey aimed at boosting ties with the continent.

In October, Istanbul hosted business leaders and dozens of ministers from African states for a summit aimed specifically at increasing trade.

The same month, Erdogan visited Angola, Nigeria, and Togo.

“One-point-three billion people live on the African continent and it is not represented at the Security Council,” Erdogan said on Saturday.

“This is a huge, flagrant injustice. I am still excited and thrilled every time I visit the continent,” Erdogan said, adding that he had made more than 50 trips to the continent and visited more than 30 countries since 2004.

“This summit is a testament to the fact that Turkey is interested in Africa and Turkey’s interest in Africa is not a temporary interest, it is a maintained commitment. Our African brothers and sisters are showing they are interested in better cooperation with Turkey.”

Vaccines, drones, increased trade

Erdogan announced that Turkey would be sharing 15 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine with African countries in the next few months, adding that it was “a disgrace for humanity at large” that only 6 percent of the population had been vaccinated so far.

Turkey is also ready to share counterterrorism expertise and delivery military technology to countries in Africa, he added.

“We understand security challenges like those from Daesh (ISIL), Boko Haram, and al-Shabab are not for a few countries only, but a shared challenge. Turkey has advanced technology when it comes to the defence industry, and Turkey has great experience when it comes to counter-terror operations. We are ready to offer this prowess to our African brothers and sisters.”

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