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Turkish PM to discuss energy in W. Africa

Jan. 6, 2013 at 11:12 AM

LIBREVILLE, Gabon, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to West Africa could strengthen business development and trade between the two regions, experts said.

Erdogan arrived in Gabon Sunday and is expected to travel to Niger and Senegal in the coming days, Sunday's Zaman reported.

He is accompanied by a delegation of more than 250 businessmen representing a range of industries including agriculture, mining and energy, though mostly the construction sector.

"Such official visits will be beneficial because Turkish businessmen will take trade offers and get involved in the development of infrastructure on the African continent," said Engin Oba, head of the international relations department at Mersin's Cag University.

Erdogan is expected to make energy a prime topic of discussion during his visits, said Hasan Ozturk, a research fellow on Africa with Istanbul think tank Wise Men Center for Strategic Studies.

"In addition to Brazil and China, Turkey would like to make oil deals with West African countries, a region mostly dominated by U.S. companies," Ozturk said.

"Turkey would benefit from [greater ties with] Africa in terms of diversifying its energy sources," he added.

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