DAKAR, Senegal

Turkiye’s president vowed Monday to boost relations with African countries as he visited the Senegalese capital Dakar as part of his four-day mini-tour of Central and West Africa.

“We will continue to enhance our relations with African countries on the basis of sincerity and solidarity,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during a joint press conference with his Senegalese counterpart Macky Sall.

Erdogan noted that with the communique, action plan and joint implementation report adopted during the 3rd Turkiye-Africa Partnership Summit in Istanbul, a road map had been set out in Turkish relations with Africa for the 2022-2026 period.

“We discussed all aspects of Turkiye-Senegal relations at our talks with my treasured brother,” he said. “We exchanged ideas on how we can further advance our relations in every area. We once again gladly observed that we share the same determination to deepen our cooperation.”

The Turkish president also said he will be attending the opening ceremony Wednesday of Dakar Olympic Stadium, which was built by Turkish entrepreneurs.

“I am very proud that the new stadium, which will add new ones to Senegal’s sports successes, was constructed by a Turkish firm. I wholeheartedly congratulate the great success the Senegalese National Team achieved in the Africa Cup of Nations by winning the championship,” he added.

Noting that the bilateral trade volume between Turkiye and Senegal had reached $540 million in 2021, Erdogan said “our goal is to elevate this figure to some $1 billion in a short span of time.”

“We attach great importance to structuring our investments in a way to prioritize human resources while advancing our relations,” he said.

“For instance, 1,000 of the total 1,500 workers employed in the Dakar Olympic Stadium project were our Senegalese brothers and sisters.

“The contributions of our companies within the Emerging Senegal Plan will continue with the support of the Senegalese people,” Erdogan added.

“Also, our firms in Senegal carry out activities in the areas of energy, steel production, health care, the food industry, ready-mixed concrete production and gold processing on the basis of mutual interest.”

Erdogan also mentioned the “close cooperation in the area of development.”

The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), which “has since 2007 completed 186 projects in Senegal with a total value of $12 million, is determined to maintain its activities,” he said.

“The Turkish Maarif Foundation, for its part, provides education for 287 students at 13 schools in Senegal,” he said, adding “the number of Senegalese students granted Türkiye scholarships since 1992, on the other hand, has reached 187.”

Erdogan also thanked Senegalese officials “for the support they provide to our fight against the FETO terrorist organization. We have no doubt that this support and solidarity will continue.”

The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 in Turkiye which left 251 people dead and 2,734 injured.

Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

Erdogan and Sall signed five agreements, including one on security.

For his part, Sall praised Turkish companies that have initiated various investment projects in the country and said investments between the two countries should increase even more.

Sall said he invited Erdogan to the opening of the stadium on Feb. 22 and the invitation turned into an official visit.

He also thanked Erdogan for his support and interest in Senegalese players playing in Turkiye.

Earlier, Erdogan and Sall attended the Turkiye-Senegal Business Forum and had a one-on-one meeting at the Republic Palace.

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