By Wallace Mawire
HARARE-TURKISH Airlines is preparing to open a new route into Zimbabwe, according to Hidayet Eris, Turkish Ambassador to Zimbabwe, in a recent presentation at the country’s 93 independence anniversary held in Harare.
Ambassador Eris said that currently Turkish Airlines has direct flights to Johannesburg, Capetown, Durban, Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius.
The ambassador also said that his country has long-standing historical and cultural relations with the African continent.
“Our relations have gained substantial momentum since the declaration of Turkey as a strategic partner of the continent by the African Union during the first Turkey-Africa Cooperation summit which took place in Istanbul in 2008,” he said.
“The second summit was held in Malabo in 2014 and Zimbabwe was among the 30 African countries – represented by President Mugabe.”
He said Turkey has a growing number of African embassies in Ankara, while urging the Zimbabwe government to consider opening an embassy there. Among the 125 embassies in Ankara, 34 are African.
So far support offered to Zimbabwe includes humanitarian assistance to counter the severe drought. Also various Turkish non-governmental organisations are reported to have contributed US$431,000 and have drilled seven boreholes across the country.
A business delegation headed by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in collaboration with the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries was in Istanbul, Turkey, for the Turkey-Africa Economic and Business forum that started on Wednesday this week.