Turkish foreign minister heads to Harare

TURKISH President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will dispatch his Foreign Affairs minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu to Zimbabwe next week for high level talks meant to broaden bilateral relations between Harare and Ankara, an official has said.

During his visit, from January 10 to 11, Çavuşoğlu would hold talks with acting President Constantino Chiwenga and his counterpart, Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister Frederick Shava.

“The minister’s visit is meant to consolidate the robust and blossoming bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and Turkiye,” the ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

“This is the first high-level visit to Zimbabwe by a Turkish minister and is a testimony to the success of our engagement and re-engagement policy.” As part of its engagement and re-engagement agenda, Zimbabwe opened an embassy in Turkiye in 2021.

On its part, Ankara’s engagement with the African continent has been growing over the years, and is central to Erdoğan’s desire to foster closer ties with Africa on the basis of a win-win relationship and equal partnership.

Through the Africa-Turkey Summit, Ankara has also set sights on consolidating and developing areas of cooperation at all levels To buttress its relations with Africa, Ankara has increased the number of its embassies in Africa from just 12 in 2002 to 43 in 2021, including one in Harare.

Turkiye’s trade with Africa totalled US$5.4 billion in 2003, and climbed to US$25.3 billion by 2020 despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Turkish Airlines offers flights to 60 different destinations across 39 African countries while the Turkish development agency, TIKA, has nearly 30 coordination centres on the continent. — New Ziana

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