By Seleshi Tessema, Hassan Isilow, Andrew Wasike
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia / PRETORIA, South Africa / NAIROBI, Kenya (AA) – Turkish ambassador to Ethiopia and AU Ambassador Yaprak Alp said that the 96th Republic Day is a great foundation for today's Turkey.
Speaking at an event to mark Turkey's Republic Day in Addis Ababa, Ambassador Alp said that "Turkey having fought a long and difficult war of independence was now proudly on its feet and ready to become a strong, stable actor in regional and global affairs."
"Today Turkey is proud to continue to call itself a friend of Ethiopia," Alp stressed.
Representing the Ethiopian government, Ambassador Mahlet Hailu said "Ethiopia and Turkey relations can be described as excellent politically and economically."
In a separate event hosted by Turkey's ambassador in South Africa's capital of Pretoria, Elif Comoglu Ulgen, the ambassador said she was pleased to host the event at a time when South Africa-Turkey relations were flourishing.
She said relations between the two nations are flourishing in various fields including health, defense and tourism.
She said South Africa remains Turkey's trusted partner at multilateral foras and Turkey hopes to increase its trade volume with Africa’s most industrialized economy from the current $2 billion.
Representing the South African government at the event held at Ulgen's residence, Linda Shongwe, Chief Director for Central and Eastern Europe, Nordic and Baltic Countries at South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation said that ‘‘since the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries, our bilateral relations have gradually strengthened and have evolved to a level of maturity.''
She noted there is increased commercial and business-to-business activities between the countries made possible by their Joint Economic Commission.
''On behalf of President Ramaphosa, the Government and people of the Republic of South Africa, I would like to reiterate our best wishes to the Government and the people of Turkey on the celebration of their National Day,’’ Shongwe said.
Meanwhile, speaking at an event to mark Turkey's Republic Day in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, Turkish ambassador to Kenya, Ahmet Cemil Miroglu said that ''today we not only celebrate the 96th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey but also, the fifty-second anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Turkey and Kenya, one of Turkey's oldest diplomatic missions in Africa.''
Miroglu told the ceremony that Turkey is working to elevate its economic cooperation with Kenya to a new level noting that the current 2018 trade volume which is 227 million USD "does not reflect the true potential of our countries."
Miroglu urged Turkish businesses to invest in Kenya and added that Turkey supports Kenya in its war against Somali-based al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab militant group which has caused bloodshed across East Africa.
"We are determined to strengthen our cooperation in this field," he stressed noting that currently Kenyan military officials are under a training program on counter-terrorism in Turkey.
Speaking on behalf of the Kenyan government, Ambassador Ben Ogutu, the political-diplomatic secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, thanked Turkey for its activities in Kenya especially in humanitarian and development aid through the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA).
On Oct. 29, 1923, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk officially declared the name of the nation and proclaimed the country's status as a republic.
A vote then took place in the Grand National Assembly, and Ataturk, a revolutionary statesman, was elected the first president of the Republic of Turkey by unanimous vote.
Since then, Turkey celebrates the Republic Day every Oct. 29.
Republic Day is being celebrated in all provinces of Turkey and the country’s representations abroad.
Government ceremony in the capital Ankara, art events and fireworks in Istanbul, concerts and torchlight processions in the Aegean Izmir province are among the symbols of Republic Day celebrations in Turkey.