President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey never saw Africa as a "virgin continent" with resources ripe for exploitation.
Speaking in Istanbul at an International Congress Gala Dinner on Health in Africa, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey wants to develop long-term business alliances on the continent with a "win-win" approach based on "mutual respect and equality."
The president said that the last 12 years proved that Turkey's interest in the African continent was not a passing whim, adding that, "Our trade with all of Africa in 2005 was about $7 billion, but by 2016 this figure had risen to $17 billion."
"The Turkey-Africa partnership summit, meeting for the first time in Istanbul in 2008, and then in Equatorial Guinea's capital Malabo in 2014, showed the importance Turkey places on relations with the continent."
Expressing hopes regarding Africa's future, he said that despite its current troubles, Africa will leave its mark on the 21st century.
In 2005, Turkey's official outreach to Africa gained new momentum when Erdogan, then prime minister, declared 2005 the Year of Africa, and Turkey was accorded observer status by the African Union.
In 2008, Turkey was declared a strategic partner of the continent by the African Union, followed by the "Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit" held in Istanbul
Turkey currently has 39 embassies and consulates on the continent.