World Bulletin / News Desk
The South African government said Thursday it looks forward to deepening its relations with Turkey.
South Africa’s tourism minister, Derek Hanekom, was delivering a message on behalf of his government during the 92nd anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey held at the Turkish ambassador's residence in Pretoria.
Hanekom said although celebrations for Turkey’s 92nd anniversary come at a time when the country faces challenges of terror, “South Africa believes Turkey will draw strength from its history and conquer the challenges it currently faces."
He also conveyed a condolence message from President Jacob Zuma to the people of Turkey and its government following the Ankara bombings.
“We would like to use this opportunity, to renew our commitment to the South Africa-Turkey strategic partnership that was affirmed through the establishment of the Bi-National commission in June 2012," he said.
The minister also said trade between Turkey and South Africa has been steadily increasing.
“From 2010-2014, the volume of trade between the two countries increased from $4.9 billion to $13.4 billion,” he revealed.
South African exports to Turkey stood at about $6 billion, while imports from Turkey accounted for $7 billion.
Turkish ambassador to South Africa, Kaan Esener, reaffirmed his country’s commitment to further improving relations with the continent’s most developed economy:
“Turkey is committed more than ever to further developing and strengthening its relations with South Africa in all fields.”
Esener also announced that Turkish Airlines had launched direct flights between Istanbul and Cape Town.
"Next week we will have a launch of a new flight to Durban via Johannesburg," he added.