Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan will make the latest in a string of trips to Africa this week, visiting SA and Zambia as well as attending the Brics summit, the Turkish presidency said on Sunday.
The five Brics countries — Brazil, China, India, Russia and SA, which are seen by analysts as rising challengers to established western economies — are holding the group’s latest summit in Johannesburg.
Turkey is not a member of Brics, but Erdogan will attend a special session in his capacity as the chairman of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation at the event, the presidency said.
Previous reports have said Erdogan is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on the summit’s sidelines.
Russia and Turkey have been increasing their co-operation, notably on the Syria crisis. Ankara is buying Russian S-400 air defence systems in a deal that has upset the West.
The Turkish presidency described Erdogan’s participation in Johannesburg as the “first high-level contact” between Turkey and Brics.
After the visit to SA on July 25-27, Erdogan will head to Zambia on July 28 in what the presidency said would be the first visit to that country by a Turkish head of state.
Erdogan has made expanding Turkey’s presence in both Muslim and non-Muslim Africa one of the priorities of his foreign policy. Since being elected president in 2014, he has visited 20 African countries.
Ankara is aiming to establish a Turkish diplomatic mission in every African country.
It also says it wants to play a major role in development and trade on the continent.
It will be Erdogan’s first trip to Africa since his re-election on June 24 for a second term with enhanced powers.[Source: AFP]