By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to meet with counterparts and hold a bilateral meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin at the upcoming BRICS summit in South Africa.
The BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — are meeting in Johannesburg on July 25-27, as the emerging economies look to more closely coordinate economic policies in the face of a potential global trade war.
Turkey is not BRICS member, but Erdogan will attend in his role as chairman of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Turkish presidency announced.
Russia and Turkey have been stepping up geopolitical cooperation, including in the Syrian conflict and in the sale of Russian S-400 air defense systems to Ankara in a deal opposed by NATO, of which Turkey is a member.
Erdogan, like Chinese President Xi Jinping — who is also scheduled to attend the summit — has been looking to increase ties with Africa and has made it a top policy goal of expanding Turkey’s presence in both Muslim and non-Muslim countries on the continent.
Erdogan has visited 20 African countries.
Xi on July 22 arrived in Rwanda, becoming the first Chinese president to ever visit the East African country and the second stop in his latest tour of Africa.
After the BRICS summit, Xi is slated to visit the Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius.