President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey aims to develop better relations with Ghana and at large with the African continent, boosting economic ties between Turkey and countries in the continent.
“Both Turkey and Ghana are determined to expand mutual cooperation. There is a very obvious political will between us to do that,” Erdogan said during a joint press conference with his Ghanaian counterpart in the capital Accra on Tuesday.
Erdogan arrived in Accra Monday night to attend the Turkey-Ghana Business Forum. He was received with an official welcoming ceremony by the Ghanaian President President John Dramani Mahama at the Flagstaff House after the two leaders held their press meeting.
Erdogan said that over the last five years Ghana and Turkey have signed at least 18 agreements and memorandums of understanding underlining the increasing relations between the countries.
“Ghana is still Turkey’s number four trade partner in the sub-Saharan Africa region,” being one of Turkey’s closest friends in the West Africa, he emphasised.
“Last year’s trade volume between Turkey and Ghana was $400 million. Our goal is to boost this to $1 billion by 2020,” he stated.
“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, promising that Turkey will make further investments in the country regarding mass housing.
“Our goal is to expand our mutual cooperation in the political, military, economic, cultural, trade, and diplomatic areas,” he said.
Erdogan commemorated the Ghana’s founding establishment saying that Ghana became the first country to declare its independence in the sub-Saharan region.
He also praised Ghana’s democracy, describing its political and social continuity as “well-established.”
During the press conference, Ghana President Mahama welcomed Erdogan’s 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 military issues],” 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 pointed out.
Mahama stressed that the new scholarships would especially target girls, particularly those who want to study science and technology.
The Ghanaian president also 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,” he recounted.
On the diplomatic front, he informed that Ghana will soon open a new consulate in Istanbul.
He gave support to Turkey in its struggle against terrorism and in its efforts regarding Syrian conflict indicating that Turkey has an important role to play in bringing peace to Syria.
“All the international community must act together against terrorism,” he added.
Erdogan also addressed the country’s parliament before travelling to Nigeria and Guinea, his next stops in the continent following the press meeting.