Gabon gateway for Africa, Turkish premier says

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that Turkey considered Gabon a gateway to boost relations with the African continent.

"We see Gabon as an important gateway for our relations in the African continent. We are utterly pleased with the momentum that our relations with Gabon have gained," Erdogan told a joint press conference with his Gabonese counterpart Raymond Ndong Sima in capital Libreville, the first stop of the Turkish premier’s three-nation African tour which also includes Niger and Senegal.

Erdogan said he was the first Turkish prime minister ever to visit Gabon, adding that the two countries’ presidents paid mutual visits in 2010 and 2011.

Erdogan said Turkey opened an embassy in Libreville in 2011, adding that his country was looking forward to opening of the Gabonese Embassy in the Turkish capital, Ankara.

The Turkish premier said bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Gabon stood below 50 million USD, adding that the two countries aimed at increasing the figure to as high as 100 million USD by 2015.

Erdogan said a large delegation of Turkish businesspeople accompanied him on his African tour, adding, "together with our investors, we want to launch a new process of change and transformation in Gabon."

Erdogan said Turkey and Gabon could cooperate in construction of dams, natural gas production and establishing natural gas grids, adding that Turkey’s state-run air carrier, the Turkish Airlines, would soon launch direct flights to Gabon.

Turkey can rapidly meet annual residence demand of Gabon

Erdogan said that Turkey could rapidly and easily meet annual 20,000 residence demand of Gabon.

Erdogan said that Gabon needed 20,000 residences annually, and Turkey had the power the meet this demand rapidly and very easily.

Noting that he was being accompanied by 300 Turkish businessmen during his visit to Gabon, Erdogan said that among them, there were 175 entrepreneurs who had 65 billion USD of annual turnover, and 12 billion USD of export as well as 429,000 employees.

Erdogan said that 500,000 residences had been built in Turkey in the past ten years, adding that Gabon needed 20,000 residences annually, and Turkey could easily meet this need.

Erdogan said that Turkish Airlines (THY) would begin Istanbul-Libreville flights in the end of this month, adding that Gabon would be connected to all countries in the world.

Erdogan also said that Turkey had 31 representations in African continent, adding that this number would reach 34 within a few months.

He said that Gabon would open an embassy in Turkish capital Ankara this year.

Turkey supports Africa in all areas

Erdogan said that Turkey was supporting Africa in all areas.

Erdogan said that Turkey only saw common history, friendship and brotherhood in Africa on the contrary to other countries which saw diamonds, golds, mines and underground richness in this continent.

Erdogan noted that Gabon and Africa had a rooted and old history, and said that Africa could make contributions in shaping up the future like it shaped up the history.

Erdogan said that besides Gabon, he would also pay visits to Niger and Senegal.

Turkey is never distant toGabon and African continent, said Erdogan, adding that Turkey was close to Africa in cultural aspect too. He recalled that Ottoman Empire had been a symbol of respect in Africa for centuries.

We would like to revive historical friendship and brotherhood with Africa, said Erdogan.

Turkish premier tours rainforest in Gabon

Erdogan toured the rainforest in Gabon on Monday.

Erdogan and his Gabonese counterpart Raymond Ndong Sima crossed over Wonga-Wongue rainforest national park by helicopter.

Turkish Deputy Premier Bekir Bozdag and Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan also accompanied the two premiers.

Erdogan attends ceremony at Turkish chancellery building in Libreville

Erdogan attended a flag-hoisting ceremony at Turkish chancellery building in Libreville.

Erdogan and his Gabonese counterpart Raymond Ndong Sima attended the ceremony during which students of a Turkish school in Gabon sang national anthems of Turkey and Gabon.

Erdogan said that Gabon attached importance in opening of Turkish embassy in Libreville, and Gabonese presidency allocated a land for Turkey to build the embassy.

Noting that the embassy building would be constructed soon, Erdogan said that Turkey increased the number of its embassies in Africa to 31 in recent years.

Copyright © 2013 Anadolu Agency