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DR Congo leader hails ‘historic’ ties with Turkey during Erdogan visit

WIN-WIN’ security and economic deals were reached during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ‘historic’ official visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, the African country’s leader said on Sunday.

President Felix Tshisekedi met with his counterpart, who was backed by a delegation of Turkish government members and businessmen, in the capital Kinshasa for a two-day visit.

He said the DR Congo and Turkey reached cooperation agreements on security, infrastructure, health and transport, hailing a ‘historic day’ for relations between the nations after speaking with Erdogan.

Tshisekedi added that the DR Congo requested Turkish assistance in the long-running fight against militias in the conflict-torn east of the country.

In September, Tshisekedi paid an official visit to Ankara on the theme of economic cooperation and travelled to Istanbul in December where he took part in a Turkey-Africa summit.

Relations between Ankara and Kinshasa have been good for several years and the volume of Turkish investments in the DR Congo continues to grow.

Bilateral trade between the two amounts to about $40 million but Turkey is seeking to strengthen its presence in Africa.

Since 2003, the volume of its trade with the continent has increased from $2bn to at least $25bn.

Erdogan has visited Africa nearly 40 times since 2005, as prime minister and president, since when Turkey has opened some 40 embassies on the continent.

Turkey’s influence covers the realm of defence with Ankara inaugurating its first African military base in 2017 in Somalia.

The DR Congo faces insecurity in its eastern region due to the presence of dozens of armed groups that regularly threaten civilians.

Military operations are underway against these groups, which include the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Islamic State’s branch in Central Africa blamed for thousands of killings in the eastern DR Congo.



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