Ankara, July 26 (IANS) The BRICS summit presents an important opportunity for its member countries and Turkey to develop closer cooperation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.
Erdogan made the remarks during a press conference on Wednesday at Ankara airport, adding that the BRICS member countries have contributed in the last decade to 50 per cent of the global economic growth, Xinhua news agency reported.
The five BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, seen by analysts as rising challengers to established Western economies, will hold the group’s latest summit in Johannesburg, the largest city of South Africa.
Turkey is not a member of the BRICS, but Erdogan will attend a special session of the event in his capacity as the current chair of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Turkish presidency said in a statement.
This visit came after Erdogan’s election victory last month, which granted him extra executive power and another five-year presidential term after Turkey’s political system shifted to a presidential one.
The Turkish president will be accompanied by a delegation of economic and political high-ranking officials as he will discuss means and ways to further maximise economic and political ties with the BRICS.
As part of his visit, the Turkish leader is also due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the summit, according to the statement.
The Turkish presidency described Erdogan’s participation in the summit as Turkey’s “first high-level contact” with the BRICS members.
In this context, South African Ambassador to Turkey Pule Malefane stressed the significance of Erdogan’s visit to Johannesburg in enhancing bilateral ties.
“It is not by accident that President Erdogan was invited to the BRICS summit,” Malefane told Daily Sabah.
“Turkey is regarded as a strategic ally in strengthening South-to-South relations and Agenda 2063, which is a strategic vision of the African Union,” he said.
BRICS countries account for 26 per cent of the world’s land mass and are home to 46 pe rcent of the world’s population and approximately 23 per cent of the global GDP.