Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that Turkey is determined to contribute to regional peace both in Ghana and the region and to boost economic ties.
Speaking in Ghana’s capital Accra, he said, “Both Turkey and Ghana are determined to expand mutual cooperation. There is a very obvious political will between us to do that”.
Erdogan was received with an official welcoming ceremony by Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama at the Flagstaff House after the two leaders held a joint press conference.
Erdogan arrived in Accra last night to attend the Turkey-Ghana Business Forum. He also addressed the country’s parliament before proceeding to Nigeria and Guinea, the next stops on his African tour.
Erdogan said at the Business Forum that over the last five years Ghana and Turkey have signed at least 18 agreements and memorandums of understanding.
“Ghana is still Turkey’s number four trade partner in the sub-Saharan Africa region,” he said.
“Last year’s trade volume between Turkey and Ivory Coast was $400 million. Our goal is to boost this to $1 billion by 2020,” he added.
“Ghana is one of our closest friends in West Africa,” Erdogan said.
“In recent years we have been writing a bold new chapter in the history of our bilateral relations with Ghana. We see Ghana as our partner in development,” he said.
“Our goal is to expand our mutual cooperation in the political, military, economic, cultural, trade, and diplomatic areas”.
He also complimented Ghana’s hospitality, saying, “This is most generous welcome to not only me but also to my delegations”.
Erdogan underlined that in 1957, Ghana was the first state to declare its independence in the sub-Saharan region.
He praised Ghana’s democracy, describing its political and social stability as “well-established”.
Turkey and Ghana are determined to contribute to regional peace as well as world peace, said Erdogan.
He also stressed that Turkey will make further investments in Ghana in mass housing.
During the press conference, Ghana President John Dramani Mahama welcomed an invitation for Ghanaian Defense Ministry officials to visit Turkey.
“We all know Turkey has a very developed defense industry and we are willing to develop cooperation on that issue,” he said.
In the area of education, Turkey has traditionally offered scholarships to Ghana, and under bilateral discussions, the number of scholarships will be raised to 35, he added.
Mahama stressed that the new scholarships would especially target girls, particularly those who want to study science and technology.
The Ghanaian president announced that the new Ghana National Mosque, built by Turkey, will open within three months.
“I would like to express appreciation on behalf of the Muslim community of Ghana to Turkey’s president and the people of Turkey for the assistance that is being offered… to build a new national mosque which will be finished in the next two or three months. It is being built by Turkish foundations with support from the Turkish government”.
On the diplomatic front, he said that Ghana will soon open a new consulate in Istanbul.
Touching on Turkey’s efforts in Syria, he praised Turkey.
“In the area internationally, we stand in solidarity with Turkey on the issue of terrorism and the situation in Syria”.
He stressed that Turkey has a very important role to play in bringing peace to Syria.
“We wish to encourage the president and the people of Turkey to continue to play a positive role towards resolving the Syrian crisis,” said Mahama. “We also condemn all the terrorist attacks that have taken place against Syria”.
“All the international community must act together against terrorism,” he said.
During his Africa tour, he will also visit Nigeria and Guinea.