MUTUAL RESPECT

Turkey 2013 | DIPLOMACY | GUEST SPEAKER

Paul Biya, President of Cameroon, on the strengthening relationship between the two countries.

HE Paul Biya
BIOGRAPHY
Paul Biya has been the President of Cameroon since 1982. His previous positions have included Secretary-General of the Presidency from 1968 to 1975 and Prime Minister from 1975 to 1982. In 1982, President Ahmadou Ahidjo resigned and Paul Biya assumed office.

Prime Minister Erdoğan's visit to Yaoundé on March 16 and 17, 2010, was the first ever by a Turkish head of state to Cameroon. Since then, and thanks to our shared determination, relations between our two countries have continued to grow and diversify for the benefit of our two peoples. Proof of this is the exchange of visits, such as those to Turkey by the President of the National Assembly of Cameroon and several members of the Government of Cameroon and, in return, that of Professor Mehmet Görmez, President of Religious Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, to Yaoundé in December 2012. Beyond its symbolism, my visit to Turkey in April 2013, which is also the first to Turkey by a Cameroonian President, testifies to our mutual commitment to strengthening our friendly and cooperative ties within the framework of a win-win strategic partnership.

Turkey, which was already a major power under the Ottoman Empire, has continued to marvel the world. The Republic was built with steadfast determination by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, after the abolition of the Sultanate in 1922 and the Caliphate in 1924. The Republic of Turkey is today a politically stable, economically prosperous, and socially peaceful nation. I honor the memory of Atatürk, the eminent patriot who, at the beginning of the last century, courageously laid the groundwork for a secular and modern Turkey. This remarkable work has been consolidated over the years.

In fact, thanks to the ambitious reforms and programs resolutely undertaken by its leaders since 2002, Turkey, which ranks as the world's 15th largest economy, is currently one of the major actors of global growth. Such a performance is all the more remarkable as it comes at a time when efforts are being made to get the global economy out of crisis.

“Thanks to our shared determination, relations between our two countries have continued to grow. "

Cameroon, for its part, is currently pursuing a “Major Accomplishments Program," which consists of implementing major projects in the areas of energy, infrastructure, mining, and agriculture, and is geared toward making Cameroon an emerging economy by 2035. To that end, my country has substantial advantages and potentials, namely its strategic position in Africa, huge natural and human resources, political stability, sustainable economic growth, an investment-friendly environment, and a central position in the Central African sub-region. To carry through its lofty national plans that have the support of Cameroonians of all social strata, both at home and abroad, Cameroon knows it can count on the commitment of its external partners, notably Turkey, whose competence and know-how are commensurate with its needs.

Cameroon and Turkey share common values and principles within international bodies, notably the UN and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), to which both countries belong. This common belonging has enabled us to appreciate the vital moderating role played by Turkey, notably in the Syrian crisis, and in the Middle East region. The country's actions at the helm of the Standing Committee forv Economic and Commercial Cooperation between OIC members has also caught our attention.

Lastly, I would like to underscore the importance of the Turkish initiative aimed at institutionalizing a consultation platform between Turkey and the African continent. This Summit of Partnership and Turkey-Africa cooperation based on the principle of equality and win-win cooperation is proof of Turkey's interest in the African continent. That accounts for Cameroon's active participation since its inception in 2008.