Speaking at a gala dinner for the Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum in Istanbul, Yildirim said: “This continent has a great future. The relationship between Africa and Turkey is different than the relationship between the West and the continent.
“We consider this is long-term partnership. One-sided benefit does not exist in our tradition. We will win or lose, be sad or happy together with Africa.”
Highlighting ties in aviation, Yildirim pointed out that Turkish Airlines flew to more than 50 destinations in 31 African countries. “We have also made great success in not only transport but also in airport construction.”
He added: “In many countries, our contractors are building and operating airports with the build-operate-transfer model. They generated funds with this model where public budget opportunities are not available.”
The prime minister said Turkish construction firms had invested more than $6 billion in Africa.
“There is no doubt that Turkish investors, with their experience and qualified services, will make significant contributions to the development of infrastructure that the continent needs,” he told guests.
Trade with Africa had tripled to $18 billion since 2005, Yildirim added. “That trade is not enough considering the continent’s population and economy, which are over 1 billion people and $2.7 trillion respectively.”
Yildirim also called on Africa’s leaders to support Turkey’s fight against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), which is said to have staged the July 15 coup attempt.
“This terrorist organization is in 170 countries,” he said. “FETO is a potential threat to your countries’ security and stability. We look forward to your continuing support in the direction of ending the organization’s existence in your countries.”
International business leaders from Africa arrived on Wednesday for the two-day forum, which is organized by Turkey's Economy Ministry, the Foreign Economic Relations Board, the Turkish Exporters Assembly and the African Union Commission.