Notes following Briefing by Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad Regarding Incoming Official Visit by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Union Buildings, Pretoria Tuesday, 1 March 2005

Official visit to South Africa by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Deputy President Jacob Zuma will host his Turkish counterpart, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on an official visit in South Africa from Wednesday - Saturday, 2-5 March 2005.

Deputy President Zuma's delegation will include, among others, Ministers Jeff Radebe, Mosiuoa Lekota, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Mandisi Mpahlwa, Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad and South Africa's representative to Turkey, Ambassador Mngqikana.

Prime Minister Erdogan's delegation will include, among others: Ministers of Finance, Energy and Natural Resources, Transport and State Minister for Co-operation and Development - Kemal Unatikan, Dr Hilmi Guler, Binali Yildirim and Besir Atalay respectively and 60 senior businesspeople.

Turkey is one of South Africa's largest trading partners in the region.

In addition, President Mbeki has just paid a State Visit to the Hellenic Republic - the visit, the second in as many weeks of countries of the same region, presents South Africa with an excellent opportunity to fully assess developments in the region.

South Africa and Turkey, are countries at similar stages of development, with dynamic transitional economies and societies and have much to offer each other. In a geo-political and geo-strategic context both countries continue to play an important, stabilising role in the international community as well as in a regional setting. Turkey is now amongst the top 20 economies in the World.

Turkey has declared 2005 as a priority to focus on Africa; and its policy as reflected in the 1998 Action Plan of Opening up to Africa is aimed at developing relations and enhancing cooperation with African countries in all areas. These include a comprehensive political dialogue and establishment of bilateral consultative mechanisms. In terms of NEPAD, Turkey remains interested in joint ventures with SA construction and engineering entities. Turkey also wants to discuss expanding educational scholarships for South African and African students.

The relationship between South Africa and Turkey will take an important step forward through this highest level visit ever by a Turkish leader. The visit will introduce new levels of co-operation and an era of strong growth in our political and economic relations.

South Africa/Turkey Economic Trade And Investment Relations
In terms of the legal framework the following bilateral agreements have been concluded or are under consideration by the respective governments:

Concluded Agreements
· Tourism Co-operation Agreement
· Police Co-operation Agreement
· Protection of investment Agreement
· Agreement on Air Transport
· Protocol on Political Consultations
· Arts, Culture, Science and Technology Agreement

Under Consideration (to be signed during the visit)
· Agreement on Double Taxation (under consideration - to be signed)
· Customs Agreement (under consideration - to be signed)
· Economic and Trade Agreement (initialled - to be signed)

Although Turkey is one of South Africa's largest trading partners, the balance of trade is strongly in South Africa's favour. In this regard, SA exports of gold to Turkey were USD 604 million (R3, 7 billion) during January - November 2004 and increased by 628% as compared to the same period of 2003, which were $ 83 million (R 502 million). Total gold imports of Turkey were 251 tons with a value of US$ 3.5 billion in 2004.

South African exports to Turkey consist largely of beneficiated goods: automotive spare parts, woven pile and chenille fabrics, and woven textiles of synthetic fibres, sanitary paper articles, small electrical home appliances, hazelnuts and motorcar tyres. South Africa is also shifting from raw materials especially gold to value added goods and services including automotive parts, boilers, finished stainless steal products, furnaces, information technology and security equipment and management services.

South African imports from Turkey include:
· Articles of paper, pulp, and paper board
· Automotive and spare parts
· Tractors and spare parts, chassis, cars, commercial vehicle brakes drums,disk brakes
· Machinery
· Textiles out of staple fibre and synthetic filament
· Electrical appliances
· Special woven fabrics
· Rubber and article
· Iron and steel wires, cables
· Home textiles
· Article of stone, plaster (marble)
· Tobacco
· Inorganic chemicals
· Cotton textile
· Gold jewellery
· Dried tomatoes
· Industrial textiles
· Processed and packed fruits and vegetables

I believe and have said so quite consistently - the South African private sector is not sufficiently exploiting the economic potential that exists between South Africa and the various countries in the world. The Prime Minister's visit to South Africa with such a high level delegation indicates the opportunity for expansion of economic relations. Turkey is also used by South Africa as a springboard to former Asian republics of the former Soviet Union.

Six Turkish companies, several of them household names in that country, have set up plants in South Africa - Zorlu-Kortex; Cankurtaran-Conti; Sumo Colliery SA; Sesli Holdings; Uludag Blankets; Ahlesa Textiles. There are over 50 registered Turkish companies trading or providing services in the tourism and restaurant sectors in South Africa.

South African companies in Turkey include Macsteel in Istanbul; Grinaker Construction and Steinmueller Africa are involved in civil engineering projects. Companies with buying agents in Turkey are: Conlong, Mossop Western Leathers, Harvey Roofing, Breathetex, Samancor, Sappi, Sasol, Hulett Aluminium, Trident Midrand Steel, G. Mondiano SA, Aquazure Hatcheries, BEC/Disavascular Medical, Karoo Livestock Exports.

In addition, Turkey is a major tourism destination. We hope that this visit will encourage the restoration of air links between both countries.

South Africa is considered as a "Developing Country" by Turkey and is therefore exempt from certain taxes, etc.

Turkey has engaged the SA Customs Union (SACU) to conclude a Free Trade Agreement with SACU. The visit must be used to fast track this process.

United Nations Security Council
Turkey in November 2004 formally requested SA's support for its candidature as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the term 2009-2010. The elections will take place during the 63rd Session of the UN General Assembly in 2008.

Turkey also serves as Secretary General of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) - this is significant as the OIC remains a major organisation through which to bring together all Muslim countries - South Africa has requested observer status of the OIC.

Turkey and EU membership
EU membership remains Turkey key foreign and domestic policy priority. The EU and Turkey on 17 December 2004 formally agreed that Turkey would start accession negotiations on 3rd October 2005.

Turkey and Peacekeeping
Turkey has actively contributed to preserve international peace and stability at the regional and global levels. With regard to peace and security, Turkey has provided troops, civilian police officers and observers to international peacekeeping missions in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East. We hope the visit will provide an opportunity to discuss the sharing of expertise with regard to peacekeeping initiatives.

Finally, Turkey remains a crucial player with regard to Middle East politics and dynamics.

Zimbabwean Elections (31 March 2005)

I, last week, handed out a list of delegations that have been invited to observe the Zimbabwean elections on 31 March 2005.

SADC has received its invitation to observe these elections - the Executive Secretary of SADC and South Africa as Chair of the SADC:Organ on Politics, Defence and Security have written to all member states inviting nominations for the SADC observer team.

President Mbeki has said that the mandate of this team will not be to merely observe but to intervene where necessary in order to create the conditions for free and fair elections to be held, through which the will of the Zimbabwean people can be expressed.

Parliament has already nominated a parliamentary delegation - the legislature will determine whether this delegation will be part of the SADC Parliamentary Forum or observe the elections in their own capacity.

Questions and Answers

Question Deputy Minister Pahad, when you say election observers will be deployed soon, what do you mean? 30 days is hardly sufficient to observe the elections. In addition, are you in contact with the Zimbabwean authorities - when will foreign media be allowed access to Zimbabwe?

Answer With regards to the media, you should let us know when you have applied for accreditation and we will follow this up with the Zimbabwean authorities. Regarding the SADC delegation to Zimbabwe, this is a matter of logistics and resources. Resources will determine how many observers can be deployed and for how long.

Question Deputy Minister, will South Africa observe the elections only as part of the SADC delegation? Will you be sending a separate South African delegation?

Answer The Zimbabwean government has invited South Africa to observe the elections in 5 capacities - as part of SADC; as Chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security; as a neighbouring country of Zimbabwe; as the ANC; and as part of the Parliamentary Forum.

However, we have yet to determine in how many fora we will participate and how observers will be deployed.

Question Deputy Minister, have you had any discourse with the Zimbabwean government with regard to the role the South African observers will play during the elections - ie. not merely to observe?

Answer We have had no indications to the contrary - and this is the role we played in the last elections - South Africa had two ministers as part of the observer mission in 2002 with the role specifically to intervene where necessary.

Question Deputy Minister, what is South Africa's comment on the US State Department report condemning human rights abuses in South Africa?
Answer The South African government (Ministry of Justice and Foreign Affairs) will study this report more closely and then discuss with the United States directly.

Our view is that our track record speaks for itself - we do however accept that all countries have problems.

Question Deputy Minister, regarding the Turkish visit - have the problems with regard to arms sales between both countries been resolved?

Answer Yes, all the problems have been resolved - and both countries have been removed from each others red lists.

Question Deputy Minister, is South Africa convinced that the Kurds are not being persecuted?

Answer This matter must be dealt with and resolved within the totality of the dynamics of the Middle East.

Question Deputy Minister, with regard to the Ivory Coast - the rebels have just said that the peace process is dead - what is South Africa's comment?

Answer I am surprised that this is their view. In addition, South Africa is not intervening on its own but as part of a mandate from the African Union. I had been under the impression that progress was being made.

Question Deputy Minister, could you advise on the status of the legal team to the Ivory Coast?

Answer The team consisting of lawyers from Burundi and Rwanda is still in the Ivory Coast studying the synergies between the legislation and the Lineas Marcoussis Agreement.

Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152

1 March 2005

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