Turkey President Abdullah Gul, on arrival in Accra, Ghana, for a two-day official visit, has commended Ghana as a leader in efforts to open a new page for Africa.
President Gul said Ghana is very prominent in Africa for its practice of functional democracy, supremacy of rule of law, and inspiring Africa and opening up a new page for the Continent.
President Gul made the remarks at a dinner organised in his honour by his host, President John Evans Atta Mills in Accra on Wednesday.
Ghana and Turkey have since 1957 been in diplomatic relations and the two nations are making moves to strengthen their bilateral and trade ties in recent years.
The visit of President Gul, who arrived in Ghana with a 150 member delegation of business people, Members of Parliament, investors and academicians, is the first of a President from the Asian and European nation.
The three-day trip to Africa, co-organized by the Turkish Exporters’ Union (TIM) and Turkish Confederation of Industrialists and Businessmen (TUSKON), is focusing on stronger trade ties, amid Turkey’s ongoing outreach to Africa.
These include opening seven embassies and consulates this year and efforts to boost trade ties.
President Gul praised the growing relations between Accra and Ankara, and spoke of a number of collaborations including that of the Turkish and Ghanaian parliament, organisations of trade expositions and the organisations of Turkey Africa summit recently.
Host President Mills lauded the growing relations between Ghana and Turkey and observed that Turkey is one of the fastest economies in Europe and the Organisation for Co-operation and Development.
It is the 16th largest economy in the world, and President Mills attributed the good performance to President Gul.
President Mills spoke of strong moves by his Government to re-establish and deepen the ties between the two nations, noting that the Asian and European nation runs its flight to and from Accra four times a week.
“This is the manifestation of the confidence in Ghana,” President Mills said.
He said Government was building a strong and resilient economy and Ghana would learn from the Turkish example in the areas of agriculture, the cottage and textile industries.
President Mills entreated his guest to savour the Ghana hospitality, for which an international magazine, Forbes, has ranked Ghana as the 11th friendliest nation in the world.
“Enjoy the Ghanaian hospitality. May you go back satisfied and with happy memories of your stay in Ghana,” President Mills said.
Trade between Turkey and Ghana rose from $175 million in 2009 to $230 million last year.
Detailed programme drawn for the visit include a tête-à-tête with President Mills on ways of strengthening ties between Accra and Ankara.
President Gul would address Parliament and visit Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum where he would lay a wreath on the tomb of the First President of Ghana, Dr Kwame Nkrumah and attend a Turkey-Ghana Business Forum.
He would then move to Gabon to complete the three-day African tour.