Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will further his outreach to Africa this week, as he visits two key African nations and a meeting of leading emerging economies in South Africa, the presidency said Sunday.
Erdogan will tour South Africa and Zambia after a meeting of BRICS nations in Johannesburg.
The five BRICS countries – Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa – are seen by analysts as rising challengers to established Western economies.
Although Turkey is not a member of the BRICS, Erdogan will attend a special session as the current chair of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at the event.
Erdogan is also said to be due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on the summit’s sidelines.
Russia and Turkey have formed a close partnership, following an earlier diplomatic rift following Ankara’s downing of a Russian fighter jet that strayed into its territory from Syria.
Ankara is also set to buy the Russian S-400 air defence systems in a deal that has upset its western NATO allies.
Erdogan’s participation in Johannesburg was described as the “first high level contact” between Turkey and the BRICS, by the Turkish presidency.
After the visit to South Africa on 25 to 27 July, Erdogan will head to Zambia on 28 July in what the presidency said would be the first ever visit by a Turkish head of state.
Erdogan has made it a foreign policy priorityto establish new ties with emerging economies in Africa.
Erdogan has visited 20 African countries since he was elected president in 2014.
Ankara is aiming to have a Turkish diplomatic mission in every African country and wants to play a major role in development and trade in the continent.
It will be Erdogan’s first trip to Africa since was re-elected on June 24 for a second term with enhanced powers.
Turkey has established strong military ties with Somalia and deepened its relationship with Sudan, while its presence in West Africais also being felt.