The Speech by H.E. Abdullah Gül at the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana

24.03.2011
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Mr. President

Distinguished Members of the Parliament;

I am honored to be paying the first Presidential visit to the Republic of Ghana and I would like to express my happiness  on having the privilege to address to the distinguished Members of the Parliament of Ghana, which honored us

Along with my delegation, the deputy head and the members of the Turkey – Ghana Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation Group are also in Ghana during the visit. The Turkish part of the Parliamentarian group first gathered on March 6, the Independence Day of Ghana.

I would like to extend the sincere affection and the best regards of the Turkish nation to the friendly Ghanaian people in the Parliament which represents the national will.

Being the first African state to achieve their independence in Sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana became a symbol for the other African nations. Ghana came to the prominence, playing a historical role in this process. I would like to take this opportunity in your presence to commemorate with gratitude, the first President of the Republic of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah. 

Nkrumah was the privileged member of the non-alignment movement of the time. Furthermore he pioneered the idea of the ‘African Integration’ and ‘the United African States’.   The aforementioned ideas are still the objectives of the African Union even today. 

I have visited the Mausoleum of The First President Nkrumah and the museum. I have experienced the recent history there. I am glad to see the books he wrote, read the ideas on especially the African Union and so witness how he revolted against imperialism and how he came together with the world leaders of the time. I respectfully remember him once more again. 

Distinguished Parliamentarians;

The Republic of Ghana is the model country today for the continent with its enhanced democracy. Ghana is a striking country that contributes to the stability of its region. We appreciate the development in the Republic of Ghana to realize a pluralistic democracy and establish good governance. I congratulate all of you for this progress. 

After the First World War, Turkey waged an independence war against the victorious states of the First World War and the War of Independence ended with a victory for Turkey under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. We know the victory and the reforms that Turkey realized during those years had a great impact on the continent of Africa and became a source of inspiration and hope for the nations living under colonial rule. 

The relations between Turkey and the African countries have a long history that goes back hundreds of years. People still come across the Ottoman Empires’ heritage, historical artifacts and the common traditions. They are still alive in many countries in the North and the East of the continent.  This common heritage and tradition constitutes strong ties among our countries.

Unlike the European states, the Turks never had an intention to be a colonial power even when the Turkish state was very powerful.  They have always embraced the African nations with intimate and sincere feelings.

Distinguished Members of the Parliament;

As it was in the past, the Republic of Turkey today is determined to improve its relations with the African continent on the basis of friendship, equality and cooperation. To this end, we have been implementing an initiative towards the continent to deepen and diversify our cooperation on political, economical, military and cultural fronts since 1998.

Turkey was declared the strategic partner of the African Union in January 2008. The African initiative by Turkey is not based on short-term benefits and expectations. It is based on long-term mutual benefits and forward-looking approaches.

This approach is just the manifestation and the implication of the friendly feelings of the Turkish and the African nations.

I would like to especially emphasize that the inclination of Turkey to the African continent is the result of an integrated policy targeting the development of the African continent. This policy incorporates policy areas like health, agriculture, irrigation, energy, and education and also regular humanitarian assistance.

The continent of Africa’s transformation to a continent of opportunities for the happiness, peace and the wealth of the African nations is the most sincere wish and the desire for us. 

There are many opportunities for cooperation between Turkey, being the sixth biggest economy of Europe and the sixteenth in the world, and the dynamic African countries which are developing fast.

Through the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA) which implements projects in 37 African countries and has three regional representation groups in the continent and the non-governmental organizations that are involved in the relief and the development efforts, Turkey reinforces its relations in every aspect. 

Turkey believes that the problems of the Africa cannot be left to the capacity of its own resources.  Turkey stands for the necessary contributions by all of the countries in the world, first and foremost the developed ones. In this regard Turkey makes t constant and sincere contributions within its utmost capacity.

Distinguished Members of the Parliament;

 The ‘Turkey – Africa Cooperation Summit in Istanbul’ held under my auspices on             August 18-21, 2008, turned a page on the Turkey –African relations.

The senior officials meeting was held between Turkey and the African Union in accordance with the monitoring mechanism established in the summit. In this meeting, the Turkey – African Partnership Common Application Plan covering the period of 2010 – 2014 was approved. At the second half of this year we will also organize the review conference on the ministerial level in Istanbul.

One of the other developments I would like to underline is that the number of Turkish Embassies on the continent reached twenty two, seventeen of which are in the Sub-Saharan countries. Turkey will have opened its thirty-second Embassy on the continent next year. Turkeys’ opening new embassies while many Western countries close their embassies in Africa demonstrates Turkey’s confidence in mutual relations and the importance of Turkey’s attribution to the future of these relations. 

 Distinguished Members of the Parliament;

While the Republic of Turkey was establishing its new embassies, The Republic of Ghana was within the first group of countries.

Having started the work in our Accra Embassy last year is the concrete sign of our will and desire to improve our cooperation in every aspect with Ghana which we consider a very significant partner in Africa. 

In fact this is the reopening of our Embassy in Ghana. In 1957, when Ghana declared independence, one of the countries to first recognize their independence was Turkey. Promptly, Turkey opened permanent representation in 1957.In 1958, our Ambassador was representing Turkey in Accra. Due to the economic crisis and the depression in 1981, Turkey had to temporarily close embassies in many parts of the world. But I would like to express my pleasure in reopening Turkeys’ permanent Embassy. Our ambassador is exerting great efforts to move the relations between the two countries much further.  

Distinguished Members of the Parliament;

We are glad that the Republic of Ghana has become the third biggest trade partner of our country in Sub-Saharan Africa. The trade volume in 1998 was around 27 million dollars and according to the 2010 figures, it reached around 300 million dollars. We are pleased to observe the rapid improvement in this trade volume.

What we consider important in our trade relations is ‘the win – win situation’ for the each side. At this point I would like to congratulate all of you. 190 million dollars out of the total trade volume of 300 million dollars is the export of Ghana to Turkey. Turkey’s export to Ghana is around 100 million dollars. The economic and commercial affairs’ being based on ‘win – win principle’ is very significant to us. We believe that unilateral profitability in commercial affairs is not a sincere way of trade and it is unsustainable.

In this direction, distinguished ministers, distinguished members of the Turkey – Ghana Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group, many senior officials are along with the delegation during today’s visit. Many scientists from Turkey, opinion leaders interested in Africa, journalists and more than 100 investors accompany us.

We establish our commercial affairs not just on the basis of trade relations but also through the investments. Turkey invests in many African States, transfers technology to them and integrates with the public. Turkey pursues these policies and I consider the relations with Ghana important from this point of view. As I have mentioned before, the vivid democracy in Ghana, the rule of law and the functioning market economy’s being given particular importance in the country, place Ghana in a privileged position in the whole Africa. This kind of a country assures its foreign investors. From this point of view, we visited Ghana with a large and sincere delegation.

I think that there are substantial cooperation opportunities based on mutual benefits especially in energy, infrastructure and the construction sectors.  I am confident that the Turkish firms will realize important projects and contribute to the development of the Republic of Ghana.

Another important issue is education. For six years Turkey has been contributing to the education of the Ghanaian youth for both secondary and the higher education. I would like to thank to the Ghanaian government and all of the officials to give the Turkish schools the opportunity to be active in Ghana successfully. .

Distinguished Members of the Parliament;

The mutual friendly background of our countries and the mutual political will reinforces my confidence that the two countries will cooperate more actively in all aspects. 

I would like to thank you once more for the hospitality and the sincere concern we received since the moment we stepped into your country. 

 I am very pleased to have the opportunity to convey the affection and the best regards of the Turkish people to the Ghanaian people through the Parliament of Ghana, the representatives of the nation. 

I would like to pay my respect to you. I will always remember the honor and the privilege to have addressed the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana. Thank you very much.  I wish all of you success.  

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