Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday started his official visit to west African countries including Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria, in order to boost his country's political and economic relations with the region.
According to presidential statement, Erdogan begins his trip on Feb. 28 with Ivory Coast. Then, he will travel to Ghana between February 29 and March 1. Next, Erdogan will go to Nigeria on March 2. He will end his official trip in Guinea on March 3.
It will be the first time a Turkish president visits Ivory Coast and Guinea.
Aiming to deepen Turkey's "strategic partnership" with Africa, Turkish president will be accompanied by Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) with 150 businessmen.
The visit also intends to develop Turkey's relations with members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the presidential statement added.
Erdogan’s last trip to the continent was in January when he visited Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia, hoping to initiate a drive to expand Turkish presence in Africa. In order to achieve this goal, the number of Turkish embassies in Africa has multiplied while Turkish Airlines has added dozens of new destinations to the continent.
Bilateral trade between Turkey and Africa was worth $23.4 billion in 2014 while it has increased with sub-Saharan countries tenfold since 2000, according to the foreign ministry.
Increasing Turkey's presence outside its traditional sphere of influence, this year alone, Erdogan also visited South American countries Chile, Ecuador and Peru.