On 29 October 2021, we celebrate the 98th anniversary of the foundation of the Republic of Turkey. Throughout this 98-year-long journey, the young Republic has become an oracle of peace, stability and prosperity in her neighbourhood and beyond.
Turkey is located at the crossroads of Eurasia, a region facing multiple challenges. Meanwhile the international system is going through a transformative and unpredictable period.
In such a global environment, we pursue a humanitarian and enterprising foreign policy that is flexible and resilient to achieve “Peace at Home, Peace in the World”.
Our enterprising and humanitarian foreign policy upholds effective multilateralism and a functioning rules-based system that responds to the hopes of all people and leaves no one behind. The humanitarian pillar of our foreign policy represents the compassionate nature of the Turkish people.
This compassion is manifested in our efforts to host around 5 million refugees in an exemplary way, as commended by the UNHCR. It is also evident in our humanitarian and development assistance reaching all corners of the world.
Turkey is one of the few countries to experience positive economic growth in 2020. 2021 Turkey GDP growth forecast of World Bank is 8.5%.
Our economy has proven its resilience even at the height of a global pandemic. In the last 20 years, our exports increased 6 fold, reaching 199.5 billion USD. As such, we are now responsible for 1% of global exports.
We attach great importance to our relations with the African continent. Africa has a special place in the hearts of Turkish people and our ever-growing partnership with Africa has proof in our actions across the continent.
A strategic partner of the African Union since 2008, our footprint in the continent covers a wide diplomatic network with 43 embassies while Turkish Airlines connects the continent by flying to 58 destinations in 39 countries. We are working on adding to this number.
Meanwhile we will continue to support continental efforts to reach the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda with our development assistance already reaching 8.7 billion USD. It is noteworthy that Turkish Maarif Foundation contributes transformation of Africa by empowering human capital with its network of more than 120 schools across the continent.
As underlined by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey wants to advance its relations with the Continent on the basis of win-win and equal partnership.
A testament to the win-win nature of our partnership with Africa lies in the volume of mutual and balanced trade with the continent reaching 25.3 billion USD today. Together with our African partners, we aim to achieve 50 billion USD in the near future.
Turkish investments have surpassed 6 billion USD and created jobs for tens of thousands of African brothers and sisters. We recently hosted the 3rd edition of Turkey-Africa Economy and Business Forum in cooperation with the African Union where we hosted more than 3,000 business people from 45 countries, convened 8 panels, as well as 4,900 B2B and G2B sessions.
Third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit to be held in Istanbul on 17-18 December 2021 will be nurtured on this this vision.
This is also the framework of our friendly relations with the government and people of Ghana, a country we attach importance and consider a valuable partner in the sub-region. Ghana is a prominent country in the history and integration efforts of the entire continent. We commend the role it has been playing in this regard, and once again congratulate Ghana in its election to the non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council.
Turkey stands as a willing development partner for Ghana. The added value Turkish companies bring to Ghana in energy, agribusiness and construction sectors attests to our support for Ghana’s development aspirations. Whereas, tourism, manufacturing, affordable housing, renewable energy and healthcare stands as additional promising areas for investment.
Last year marked the highest level ever in terms of mutual bilateral trade with 772 million USD. We believe Turkey-Ghana economic and commercial relations could go even further than today. At the same time, Turkey could be a genuine and effective partner for Ghana’s various flagship projects. We support the “Ghana beyond Aid” vision championed by H.E. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
In the spirit of our cordial relations with Ghana, Turkey’s development and humanitarian assistance will continue to flourish. The National Mosque of Ghana, built with the support of Turkish philanthropists and NGOs, will stand as a magnificent symbol of the friendship between the two peoples.
Turkey and Ghana, two brotherly countries who promote effective multilateralism and rules-based order, hold the potential to enhance bilateral relations even further.
As we step closer to the centennial anniversary of the Republic of Turkey, we remain committed to promoting the shared goals of humanity including sustainable peace and development as well as tackling climate change in cooperation with the international community.
The Writer is the Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey
BY ÖZLEM ERGÜN ULUEREN