Turkish President Abdullah Gul has said his country was making efforts to increase economic relations with Africa.
ANKARA- "We have long considered Africa as one of our areas of priority and we are working to boost our economic ties with the continent as much as we pay attention to its security and humanitarian problems," Gul told Monday a joint press conference in Ankara, the Turkish capital, with Benin's President Thomas Boni Yayi after a bilateral meeting at the Cankaya Presidential Residence.
Gul said Yayi was the first Beninese president ever to visit Turkey, which he said made it "an event of historic importance between the two countries. And I hope this visit will add an extraordinary momentum to our relations."
Gul said Turkey became "a strategic partner" of the African Union in 2008 and that Istanbul hosted a meeting with the participation of all African countries.
Gul said Turkey planned to open embassies in more African countries including Benin to bring a current number of Turkey's chief diplomatic missions in Africa from 17 to 34, adding that Benin was also set to open an embassy in Ankara.
Gul and the visiting Beninese president also over saw the penning of several cooperation agreements between the two governments on development, economy, trade, agriculture, science, education and aviation.