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'Turkey, Zambia share similar values': Envoy

Zambia and Turkey have similar values as they both promote peace and security even when provoked, said Joseph Chilengi Zambian ambassador in Ankara.

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Chilengi said both countries favor international peace and security as a core factor for the development and economic emancipation of the world.

He said because of the similarity there is a need for both countries to work together in various fields and boost bilateral ties and economic development.

Chilengi said Turkey's economic structure is very important and diversified and to interact with such a diversified economy ''there is a need for Zambia to extend its presence across Turkey on the principles of a win-win situation”.

Introducing, the new honorary consul for Turkey's southeastern city of Gaziantep on Thursday, the ambassador said Zambia will soon open honorary consulates in other Turkish cities as well.

At a ceremony held in Zambian Embassy premises in Ankara, the envoy congratulated the Ozlem Isik, the honorary consul for Gaziantep on her appointment.

''Opening a new honorary consulate is a strategy for economic growth and cooperation, “he said.

Explaining why Zambia prefers to work with Turkey, Chilengi said Africa is not a dumping ground. ''In Zambia and Africa, we need value addition, “he added.

He said it is better to trade as equal partners such as Turkey than to bring aid that comes with conditionality.

''What is important is a win-win situation, trade, and investment where both partners have an interest in each other's development,'' Chilengi added.

He also mentioned the strategic importance of Turkey in the world.

''It is well known that global economic transactions cannot take place without Turkey because Turkey is an important actor, “said the ambassador.

He said Turkey is an important actor in many fields including, economy, politics, cultures, and diplomacy and it is imperative for all countries to be engaging with Turkey.

Relationship normal with Turkey despite COVID-19

Chilengi said the coronavirus pandemic has encouraged Turkey and Zambia to create new opportunities and innovate.

''The outbreak of COVID-19 has changed the way diplomacy is conducted as our movements are restricted. This compels us to find effective ways of executing our mandate to promote our national interests and those of our allies, including Turkey,'' the envoy added.

He said digital diplomacy has become very important because there are limited physical interactions.

Thanks to innovative platforms the relationship between Turkey and Zambia is continuing as normal as if nothing has happened, Chilengi said.

He said Zambia along with Africa has faced a lot of health challenges such as the Ebola virus, HIV/AIDS and malaria.

''It has given us resilience and so in interacting with countries like Turkey, they are also benefiting from our understanding and our long-standing resilience in addressing health challenges,'' he added.

Turkey-Zambia relations gained momentum following the opening of the Turkish Embassy in Lusaka in 2011 and the Zambian Embassy in Ankara in 2013.

The countries cooperate in various areas, including women empowerment, trade, and investment promotion activities, enhancing the Turkey-Zambia joint business council, cooperation activities in agriculture, energy, mining, health, tourism, and education, among others.


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