World Bulletin / News Desk
"I first heard about Turkey during the 2002 World Cup. I supported the Turkish team," Mahamane Sarmoye Diallo said.
Diallo, a student who received a scholarship from the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) to study economics in southeastern Mardin province's Artuklu University, said the "friendship between the two countries" had a long history.
"There was trade during the times of the Ottoman Empire and Malian Empire," he said.
He added the Malian people trusted Turkey and he believed both countries would benefit from Turkish president's visit on Friday.
According to the YTB, 138 Malian students received scholarships between 2012 and 2017.
Mahamadou Keita, who is pursuing a PhD degree in Theology at Ankara-based Yildirim Beyazit University, said the most important Islamic manuscripts were in Turkey, which he cited as one of his main motivations to study in the country.
Expressing his happiness with Erdogan's upcoming visit to Mali, he said: "The whole world saw what President Erdogan did for Palestine, Jerusalem, as the term president of Organization of Islamic Cooperation."
Mali is looking forward to the visit, where 95 percent of people are Muslims, he added.
Alou Debele, who is a PhD student at Ankara University’s Agricultural Economics Department and is also a representative of Malian students in Ankara, said he expected Turkey and Mali to cooperate in the field of agricultural economics.
Debele said his country needed technological support in the agricultural sector.
There are currently 265 Malian students in Turkey, 87 of which take scholarships from the YTB.
Erdogan is currently on a four-nation African tour including Algeria, Mauritania, Senegal and the West African country of Mali.