Turkey’s government on Saturday announced that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will visit four west African countries next week, including Nigeria.
The government said, it is a new sign of Ankara’s (country’s capital) desire to be a major influence in the region.
Presdient Erdogan is expected to begin his visit in Ivory Coast on Sunday before traveling to Ghana and then to the Economic powerhouse of the continent, Nigeria. He will wrap-up his visit in Guinea on Thursday.
The visit is aimed at deepening Turkey’s “strategic partnership” with Africa and developing relations with members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the presidential statement said.
This will be the first time a Turkish president will visit Ivory Coast and Guinea.
The president who had in January last year visited Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia, is spearheading a drive to expand Turkish presence in Africa.
The country has more than tripled the number of embassies it has in Africa since 2009 while flag carrier Turkish Airlines has dozens of destinations on the continent, according to the country’s foreign ministry.
Bilateral trade between Turkey and Africa was worth $23.4 billion in 2014 while bilateral trade with sub-Saharan countries has increased tenfold since 2000.