The Turkish Ambassador to Tanzania who is also his country’s representative to the East African Community (EAC), Dr. Sander Gurbuz, Wednesday held talks centered on prospects for scaling up the Turkish-EAC business and economic relations, with the bloc’s Secretary General, Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera.
Gurbuz informed the Secretary General of the current Turkish foreign policy geared towards opening more space towards Africa.
He said that in the last two years, Turkey had opened 14 new embassies in Africa, two within the East African Community; specifically in Tanzania and Uganda.. He noted that Rwanda and Burundi are on the list of countries where Turkey will open new embassies.
Turkey played a role in evacuating 25 Rwandane students who were stranded in Tripoli, Libya at the beginning of the ongoing political unrest in that country.
The envoy noted that because of the growing interests and trade between Turkey and the EAC, there are now direct flights by Turkish Airline to Dar es Salaam, Nairobi and Entebbe.
Dr. Gurbuz said: “Turkish international schools have also been established in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania with over 10,000 local students; on top of that, we are also offering scholarships to students in the EAC Partner States to pursue further education in Turkey”.
He also informed Sezibera that his country’s policy towards the EAC and Africa in general is “not selling but investing in agriculture, infrastructure, mining… so that we have a win-win situation for both parties….as jobs for locals will be created and exports enhanced”.
The Ambassador disclosed that the embassy was in advanced discussions with the East African Business Council to hold an EAC-Turkey Business Forum expected to first take place in Istanbul and later within the EAC before the end of this year.
He invited Dr. Sezibera to visit Turkey to explore more avenues for mutual collaboration between the two parties and the latter gave his nod.
Dr. Sezibera also invited the Turkish envoy to the forthcoming Tripartite and Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Infrastructure Investment Conference to be held in Nairobi, Kenya in September.
The conference will look at priority projects for road transport corridors as well as the maritime corridors. The Secretary General urged the Ambassador to mobilise Turkish investors to participate in conference.