By Dilara Hamit
ANKARA (AA) - Cooperation between Turkey and the east African nation of Rwanda is growing and has strong potential, according to Rwanda's foreign minister.
In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency on Tuesday, Richard Sezibera said he had signed agreements with Mevlut Cavusoglu, his Turkish counterpart, to strengthen relations between the two countries.
On a two-day visit to Turkey, Sezibera took part in the Rwanda Renaissance Seminar organized by the Institute of Strategic Thinking in the capital Ankara.
"Relations between Rwanda and Turkey are good, strong and growing, and in the business sector, we have more than 22 Turkish companies currently investing in Rwanda," he said.
"One of the companies invested around $400 million."
"I have met [with representatives of] the private sector and had very positive discussions with potential investors from Turkey," Sezibera said.
"Yesterday, I had the privilege of drinking Rwandan coffee imported by a Turkish businessman here in Ankara."
The Rwandan market is open for business in manufacturing, textiles, leather, construction, and furniture, he explained.
Sezibera said he had met with the country’s tourism minister and they signed bilateral agreements on tourism.
"We're discussing to see how we can increase the number of Turkish tourists coming to Kigali, but also Rwandans will come to visit this beautiful country," he said.
He noted that Turkish Airlines has flights to Kigali seven times a week.
Sezibera said his visit was aimed at strengthening the growing economic relations between Rwanda and Turkey.
He also said the Rwandan community in Turkey is expanding. Turkey gives over 45 scholarships to Rwandan students every year, Sezibera added.
- Cutting ties with FETO terror group
He said that there is no threat in Rwanda from FETO -- the terror group behind the defeated 2016 coup in Turkey -- and added that they made sure FETO-affiliated individuals are not allowed in Rwanda.
Rwanda moved to expel individuals linked to FETO after the Turkish government warned them about the group, he said.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Turkey also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
While in Ankara, Sezibera said he had paid a visit to Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of republican Turkey.
He said he and Cavusoglu are planning more high-level visits, depending on their schedules.
"Turkish people who come to Rwanda either for business or pleasure will find our doors open," he added.