President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan praised Cote d’Ivoire’s policies on immigrants, describing the country as a “safe haven.”
“Cote d’Ivoire is a safe haven and a roof as a shelter for these people,” Erdoğan, who is on an official visit to the West African country recently. Erdoğan said that immigrants, who make up over 11% of the population, “are not seen as a burden and a problem,” adding that they were a symbol of the country’s “understanding.”
During his speech, Erdoğan emphasized that he is the first Turkish president to ever visit the Cote d’Ivoire. “I like to call it the ‘Cote d’Ivoire model,” Erdoğan said, referring to the huge migrant population in the country.
“I want this situation to be an example for all continents and all countries around the world. We are also hosting our 3 million Syrian and Iraqi brothers and sisters who fled from their conflicts without any discrimination of religion, language and ethnic background,” Erdoğan said.
He also said Abidjan and Istanbul have significant potential for business cooperation. Turkish Airlines launched its first flights to Abidjan in 2013. The flights are operated four times per week, but Erdoğan said that he wants to see direct flights every day.
Erdoğan will also attend a Turkey-Cote d’Ivoire Business Forum before going on to Ghana, Nigeria and Guinea while in West Africa. He had an official visit to the sub-Saharan country of Senegal last month.
Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara and his wife Dominique Ouattara gave an official reception in honor for Erdoğan and his wife Emine Erdoğan at the Sofitel Hotel in the capital Abidjan.