Turkey says it is committed to working with Zambia in deepening democracy and national unity.
Speaking ahead of a friendly football match between Zambian Members of Parliament and Turkish community in Lusaka over the weekend, Turkish Ambassador to Zambia Istem C?rc?ro?lu said the two countries also shared common values of bilateral cooperation.
“July 15 marks Democracy and National Unity Day in Turkey. On this day, the Turkish nation once more proves its democracy and demonstrates its unity and solidarity,” Mr. C?rc?ro?lu said.
Since its designation in October 2016, every year the nation marks July 15 as Democracy and National Unity Day, with events held nationwide to commemorate those who lost their lives beating back the putschists and to remember the bravery of the nation.
The Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup, which left 251 people dead and 2,734 injured.
FETÖ was also behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
Agriculture Minister Mtolo Phiri said the Turkish people resiliently defeated the coup attempt.
“I believe that there are still plenty of opportunities for cooperation between Zambia and Turkey,” Mr. Phiri added.
Zambia declared its independence on Oct. 24, 1964, and the Turkish government accredited its embassy in Nairobi (opened on March 30, 1968) to Zambia.
From 1994 to 2011, the Turkish Embassy in Pretoria became accredited to Zambia.
Turkey-Zambia relations gained momentum following the opening of the Turkish Embassy in Lusaka in 2011 and the Zambian Embassy in Ankara in 2013.
The Turkish Embassy in Lusaka is accredited to Malawi and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is based in Lusaka.
Former President Edgar M Lungu visited Turkey on 8-10 July 2018 to attend the inauguration ceremony of President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an.
Visits from Turkey to Zambia at presidential and ministerial levels were not realized until 2018.
On July 28, 2018, President Erdo?an paid an official visit to Zambia.
This visit constituted the first presidential-level visit from Turkey.
The two countries are working closely at the technical level to improve their cooperation in the fields such as agriculture, tourism, health, infrastructure and housing.
The trade volume between Turkey and Zambia in 2019 was at the level of $23.7 million.
Turkey’s exports to Zambia was worth $17.8 million, whereas its imports from Zambia was $5.9 million.
While Turkey was a net importer from 2002 to 2011, it became a net exporter in 2012-2016.
Through the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), Turkey is providing development assistance to Zambia in various domains.
Since Dec. 14, 2018, Turkish Airlines has been operating between Istanbul and Lusaka.
Since 1992, the government of Turkey continues to grant scholarships to Zambian students.