“We consider the Republic of South Africa as a strategically important country in Turkey’s multilateral relations with all regional as well as sub Saharan African countries,” Elif Comoglu Ulgen, ambassador to South Africa, said in a ceremony marking Turkey’s 94th anniversary of the proclamation of its Republic.

“Turkey is determined to invest heavily in Africa, and particularly in South Africa,” Ulgen said.

She said the recent inaugurations of the Yunus Emre cultural institute in Johannesburg as well as the establishment of Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency’s (TIKA) office are examples of Turkey’s dedication.

The ambassador said South Africa’s functioning democracy, highly developed free market economy and a nation of reconciliation deserve to become a source of inspiration and a model for countries throughout the world.

Ulgen said Turkey is determined to increase the trade volume with South Africa, its largest trading partner in Sub-Saharan Africa. Currently their two way trade stands at $1.5 billion.

“Turkish entrepreneurs are very encouraged to further explore the South African market,’’ she added.

Michael Masutha, South Africa’s minister of justice, said his country too attaches great importance to its relations with Turkey.

He said both countries should work on increasing trade as agreed during a recently held joint economic commission between Turkey and South Africa.

Masutha said Turkey has made significant efforts in supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, which now contributes to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Anadolu Agency