World Bulletin/News Desk
The South African government has reaffirmed strong bonds of friendship and solidarity between South Africa and Turkey.
"We look forward to the deepening of our relations in the coming years," Mawethu Vilana, Acting Director General in the Department of Transport, said on Wednesday.
Vilana was delivering a message on behalf of his government during marking the 91st anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey at the Turkish ambassador's residence in Pretoria.
He said South Africa attaches a great importance to the close and cordial relations of friendship and a joint commitment to mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.
"I wish to renew South Africa's commitment to the South Africa-Turkey strategic partnership, which was affirmed through the establishment of the Bi-National commission in June 2012," he said.
Vilana said the focus now is to ensure that a bi-national commission is ratified to cement strategic partnership between the two countries with the aim of delivering mutually beneficial bilateral programs and projects.
The projects in priority sectors would include agriculture, education, skills, trade and investment, mining among others.
Vilana also said it is a pleasure to note that Turkey will be assuming the presidency of the G20 next month.
"South Africa looks forward to working with Turkey on priority issues during its term," he said.
The official further said both countries share a commitment to the development agenda of the south and the establishment of a democratic and equitable global governance system.
"We will continue to use our bilateral and multilateral engagements to support our collective contribution to global peace and security and sustainable development," he told attendees.
Turkish ambassador to South Africa Kaan Esener, for his part, said trade figures between the two countries had risen to $ 2.2 billion in 2013.
In 2012, the figures stood at $1.3 billion.
"You can see that we are going up but we need a free trade agreement," Esener told Anadolu Agency shortly after the event.
A free trade agreement would enable both countries to sell to each other more than they are currently doing, he said.
The Turkish event was attended by a number of diplomats invited from several foreign missions, business leaders, as well as Turkish nationals living in South Africa.Last Mod: 29 Ekim 2014, 23:03