By Handan Kazanci
ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday departed for Algeria, the first stop of his three-nation African tour.
“We are determined to enhance ties with African countries,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul before his departure.
The Turkish president is expected to hold a joint news conference with Algerian counterpart Abdelmadjid Tebboune following their bilateral meeting in the capital Algiers. He will also attend Turkey-Algeria Business Forum.
"Through a joint statement to be signed by the two presidents during the visit, the Turkey-Algeria High-Level Cooperation Council will be established," according to a statement by the Turkish Presidency.
Erdogan’s visit to Gambia will be of historic importance as “it will be the first-ever official presidential visit to this country,” the statement added.
Turkish President's last stop in Africa will be Senegal.
"Various agreements aimed at strengthening the contractual bases of the bilateral relations with these countries are likely to be signed during the visits. Business forums are also planned to be held in Algeria and Senegal," the statement added.
Turkey's First Lady Emine Erdogan is accompanying Erdogan as well as key aides -- including Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Technology and Industry Minister Mustafa Varank, Energy Minister Fatih Donmez, head of the Turkish Intelligence Organization Hakan Fidan, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun and presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin.
Turkey-Africa relations have gained substantial momentum since the declaration of Turkey as a strategic partner of the continent by the African Union in January 2008.