A project organized by Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) will take Turkish university students on a tour of Africa, where they will share their experience with African youth and work as volunteers in aid projects. The brainchild of Bilal Erdoğan, son of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the executive of several non-profit organizations, the project is sponsored by Turkish Airlines (THY), Anadolu Agency (AA) and public broadcaster TRT and will start on Saturday, ending on Aug. 30. A total of 200 university students from across Turkey will depart for Africa for the Africa Experience Exchange Preparation Program.
Speaking at an event to introduce the project on Thursday, TİKA President Serdar Çam said that apart from goals to help Africa, the project will help the Turkish youth to become more active in civic society.
Bilal Erdoğan said the program will give young people a chance to show that the Turkish nation is a community that considers all disadvantaged people around the world to be brothers and sisters, adding that Turks are always willing to extend a helping hand to end their suffering and address their problems. Erdoğan said he hopes that TİKA will also launch a project to send young people to the Palestinian territories, highlighting Israel's violations of Palestinians' rights in Jerusalem. "Young people around the world should get a first-hand look at what is happening in Jerusalem so that they will fight to end blatant injustice and show people there that Turks are standing with them," he said.
Turkey has stepped up its efforts to reach out to Africa and develop ties with countries on the continent over the past decade. TİKA is spearheading efforts to boost relations by creating development models for African countries ranging from support programs on rebuilding, to education and agriculture. Turkey is leading humanitarian aid efforts with at least $1.6 billion in support provided to underdeveloped countries, Çam said in a recent interview.