Turkey and Algeria expressed commitment to increasing bilateral trade volume to $5 billion from its current level of $3.1 billion during President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s visit to the country.
“Our investments in Algeria stand around $3.5 billion and the figure is the expression of our entrepreneurs’ confidence in Algeria. We have evaluated the possibility of increasing the trade volume with Algeria, our second-largest trade partner in Africa, to $5 billion,” Erdoğan said Sunday during a joint news conference with his Algerian counterpart President Abdelmadjid Tebboune in the capital Algiers.
Data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) revealed that the bilateral trade volume between Turkey and Algeria was recorded at $3.16 billion. Turkish exports to the country stood at $2.03 billion while imports from Algeria totaled $1.13 billion. In the period of January-November, Algeria’s exports to Turkey totaled $655.7 million and its imports from Turkey reached $1.7 billion.
The president drew attention to the more than 500 years of relations between Turkey and Algeria, strengthened by a shared history and deep-rooted fraternity and friendship. “We aim to further improve our bilateral rapport in every aspect,” he added.
Turkey’s rapport with Algeria dates back to the 16th century when Ottoman Navy Admiral Barbaros Hayreddin Paşa came to the country in 1516. The North African country was an Ottoman vassal state from 1519 to 1830, when the French invaded and colonized the country. The two countries celebrated the 500th anniversary of bilateral ties in 2016.
Diplomatic relations between Ankara and Algiers were instituted in 1962 when Algeria reclaimed its independence from French colonialists.
The “Friendship and Cooperation Agreement,” which was signed when President Erdoğan visited Algeria in 2006 during his term as prime minister, has been a strong foundation for bilateral relations.
During President Erdoğan's visit to Algeria in February 2018, various aspects of the bilateral relations were taken up and both sides have reiterated their readiness to further deepen bilateral ties.“Turkey believes in the prosperous future of Algeria. Our relations are not based on a market-driven perception. We are improving relations based on the win-win principle and support our businesspeople to form new partnerships and create new job opportunities,” Erdoğan said.
Turkish construction firms are working inter alia on cultural restoration sites, such as Kechiova Mosque and the Casbah neighborhood in the capital. The historical Kechiova Mosque underwent renovation and was reopened to the public on April 9, 2018.
Speaking of the visa requirements, Erdoğan announced that Turkey removed the visa regime for Algerian citizens who are younger than 15 years old and older than 65 years old. “By opening new visa centers, we are facilitating the visits of our Algerian brothers and sisters to Turkey,” the president added.
“We have also decided to cooperate in the defense industry to meet the needs of Algerian security forces,” Erdoğan said.
Through a joint statement to be signed by the two presidents during the visit, the Turkey-Algeria High-Level Cooperation Council was also established.
For his part, the Algerian president remarked that his country believes in the potential to further improve relations with Turkey. “We believe that Turkey and Algeria can walk on the path to a common future. We have decided to raise our bilateral trade to $5 billion,” Tebboune said.
Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) Turkey-Algeria Business Council Chairman Fuat Tosyalı stressed that the North African country, which ranks among the largest economies in the entire continent, is one of the countries that will lead the growth and development in Africa.
The bilateral trade between Turkey and Algeria grew in 2018 thanks to official visits and agreements and the upward trend continued in 2019, Tosyalı remarked. “The rapidly improving Turkish-Algerian ties have a lot to promise for the businesspeople from both countries. We believe that more Turkish investors will enter the Algerian market in various sectors in the upcoming period in the wake of the official visits,” he said, continuing: “One of our main priorities is to raise the bilateral trade volume to $5 billion in a short period of time. We also aim to increase Turkish investments in Algeria.”
Algeria is the largest country in Africa, covering an area of 2,381,741 square kilometers, and possesses a sizable amount of natural gas and petroleum deposits, which makes it the fourth-biggest economy in the region. With a long Mediterranean shoreline, the country is an important gateway to global trade for Africa.
The country’s economy is by and large based on hydrocarbon revenues. Thirty percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) is comprised of hydrocarbon revenues. Oil and gas revenues also account for 65% of the budget revenues and 95% of the export income. The country is ranked 10th in the world in terms of natural gas reserves and 16th in oil reserves.
Apart from that, Algeria is one of the most important trade partners for Turkey in the region and holds a critical position in diversifying our energy sources. In this regard, Algeria is Turkey’s fourth natural gas supplier after Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan. Algeria also offers attractive investment opportunities for Turkish companies operating in the food sector.
Historic visit to GambiaThe second stop of Erdoğan’s three-day Africa tour is Gambia. The president’s visit to the country will be of historic importance as it will be the first-ever official presidential visit to this country.
Erdoğan had visited 27 African countries during his terms as prime minister and as president and now with the Gambia visit, this number will increase to 28.
Erdoğan’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.
Turkey's first lady Emine Erdoğan is accompanying the president as well as key aides – including Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Technology and Industry Minister Mustafa Varank, Energy Minister Fatih Dönmez, head of the Turkish Intelligence Organization (MİT) Hakan Fidan, Communications Director Fahrettin Altun and Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın.
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.
Turkey’s trade volume with African countries has reached $26 billion, a 381% increase in the last 17 years as a result of Turkey's efforts.
Turkey has embassies in 42 countries and commercial counselors in 26 countries on the Africa continent. Turkey’s national flag carrier Turkish Airlines also flies to 35 destinations on the continent
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