KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) - The world exploited and abused Africa, but Turkey is free of any imperial designs, said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday, accompanying the president on a four-nation, four-day East African tour.
Upon meeting with his Rwandan counterpart Louise Mushikiwabo in capital Kigali, Cavusoglu said, "We see Africans as real and reliable partners. Turkey has no imperialist ambitions."
The two top diplomats signed a memorandum of understanding on educational cooperation, visa exemptions for diplomatic passports, and cooperation between the countries' foreign ministries.
Speaking to reporters afterwards, Cavusoglu said that Africa has a very important place in Turkey's foreign policy and that Turkey is one of the African Union’s strategic partners.
Mushikiwabo said Cavusoglu's visit to Rwanda is important as Turkey’s first visit at the foreign ministerial level.
Mushikiwabo added that many Turkish companies have invested in the country over the last five or six years.
"Rwanda is happy about the current relations, but we want more," she said.
"We did our best to develop our relations with many African countries. Turkey's Africa policy transformed into a partnership policy. We opened embassies in 39 African countries. Turkish Airlines flies to 38 destinations in Africa. The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency [TIKA] supports development projects and has opened 14 offices in the African continent," Cavusoglu remarked.
"Our humanitarian aid for many countries and peoples continue. Two months ago our President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited West Africa. Now we are visiting Rwanda, Somalia, Uganda, and Kenya. We see Africans as real and reliable partners. Turkey has no imperialist ambitions," he added.
Asked about potential cooperation between the countries, Mushikiwabo said, "In the last five to seven years there were many developments in the fields of trade and investment between Turkey and Rwanda. There are numerous opportunities for the Turkish business community in Rwanda."
"Turkish companies are now in Rwanda in the energy and construction sectors. We think that there are more opportunities in such fields as textiles. Additionally we want to benefit from many possibilities of Turkey's education and especially the fields of health and engineering," she added.