Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized what he termed the "colonial logic" of Western nations which unilaterally exploited the natural resources of Africa in the past, and pledged to build "lasting cooperation" that both sides will benefit from, Today`s Zaman newspaper reported.
"That is why we are in Niger today. We do not aim to take this country's oil, gold and diamonds, but to show how we can build brotherhood, make an effort to advance development and fight for freedom of a colonial logic that has endured here for centuries," Erdogan said during his visit to the Nigerien capital, Niamey, as part of his three-nation Africa tour aimed at fostering business ties with these countries.
Erdogan was speaking at a joint Turkish-Niger Business Forum in Niamey which was also attended by Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou. He said in his address to Nigerien and Turkish businessmen that he believes Turkey and Africa can shape the future based on shared interests.
Noting that Turkey has a young and educated labor force, tight fiscal discipline, competitive investors and a strengthening infrastructure, Erdoğan said Turkey is the 17th-largest economy in the world and that it has become a center of attraction on a global scale. Pointing to the fact that Turkish entrepreneurs play a big share in this success, the prime minister said Turkey wants to share this achievement with Niger.
Erdogan reiterated that Turkey has 31 embassies in Africa, in an apparent reference to his country's growing interest in Africa, and called for the establishment of a joint economic commission between the two countries to adjust economic ties. Noting that Turkey has already established 35 joint economic commissions in Africa, Erdoğan said there are 16 running business councils on the continent and that trade volume with Niger had tripled to $39 million over the past three years, from $11 million in 2009.
Stating that the registered investments of Turkish companies in Africa have already exceeded $5.5 billion, Erdogan said Ankara will continue supporting Turkish small businesses to increase their investment in Niger and that Turkey will be delighted to see its construction companies take part in Niger's development projects.