TURKEY’S President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for stronger bilateral and trade relations between Turkey and Zambia.
President Erdogan said the trade volume between Zambia and Turkey, which stands at US$22 million as at 2017, does not reflect the potential of the two countries.
President Erdogan said this at the Presidential Palace in Ankara today shortly after receiving letters of credence from Zambia’s Ambassador to the Republic of Turkey, Mr Joseph Chilengi.
“In Zambia you have a population of around 17 million people and here we have 80 million and together this makes a population of 90 million people. Our economic potential and trade volume should be much higher,”he said.
The Turkish leader also said Turkey was actively pursuing the African partnership policy and had opened 41 embassies on the African continent.
“We have a win-win approach and through the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), we will continue to support development in Zambia,” President Erdogan said.
He also said he was happy that President Edgar Lungu was in attendance during his inauguration ceremony as the first Turkish President under the new presidential system of Government.
President Erdogan also hoped that his visit to Zambia , which he will soon undertake, would add impetus to the bilateral relations between the two countries.
“This will actually be the first Presidential visit to Zambia that is why it is of historical importance,” President Erdogan said.
And Mr Chilengi said it was Zambia’s desire to take the existing cordial relations between the two countries to a higher level.
Mr Chilengi was happy with the growing interest from Turkish investors to invest in Zambia , especially in the construction industry.
He also said Zambia appreciates Turkey’s technical assistance in various sectors such as tourism, health, agriculture and media .
Mr Chilengi said this has supplemented Government efforts to accelerate development and improve the livelihood of the people.
He also commended President Erdogan for his efforts to fight international terrorism.
Mr Chilengi said Zambia supports Turkey in this cause because of the threat that terrorism poses to world peace.