ANKARA, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Monday that Ankara tries to enhance its economic relations with Africa.
"We have long considered Africa as one of our areas of priority and we are working to boost our economic ties with the continent as much as we pay attention to its security and humanitarian problems," Gul said at a joint press conference with visiting Benin's President Thomas Boni Yayi after their talks in the Turkish capital.
Gul said Yayi was the first Beninese president ever to visit Turkey, hailing his visit as "an event of historic importance between the two countries." "And I hope this visit will add an extraordinary momentum to our relations," he added.
Gul said Turkey plans to open embassies in more African countries including Benin to bring the current number of Turkey's chief diplomatic missions in Africa from 17 to 34, adding that Benin is also set to open an embassy in Ankara.
Gul and Yayi also oversaw the penning of several cooperation agreements between the two governments on development, economy, trade, agriculture, science, education and aviation.
For his part, Yayi said that the world, G8 and G20 countries should hear the voice of Africa. He meanwhile lauded the efforts of Turkey, which became a "strategic partner" of the African Union in 2008, to help the African continent.
Yayi highlighted the works that they are now focusing on over agriculture, water, education, health and industrialization, saying "actually there is a new, powerful Africa is coming up. I would like to send this message from here."