Vice president in Sudan to boost bilateral ties

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ISTANBUL
Published 20.11.2018 00:00
Updated 21.11.2018 00:55

Vice President Fuat Oktay began yesterday his three-day official visit to Sudan, where he is expected to discuss bilateral and regional issues.

Deals and agreements between Turkey and Sudan, signed during President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Sudan visit last December will also be discussed.

Oktay will also attend the 15th Turkey-Sudan Joint Economic Commission meeting in capital Khartoum.

Turkey was among the first countries to open an embassy in Sudan, after its independence in 1956.

Erdoğan paid an official visit to Sudan last year where the president and his delegation were given a very warm welcome.

As part of its recent policy of increased engagement in Africa, Turkey has put a special emphasis on Sudan. Following last year's historic visit by Erdoğan, the two countries have worked to increase their overall trade volume from $500 million to $10 billion.

"We do not see Africa as a market or a source of cheap labor. Rather, we see Africa as a strategic partner. We have signed agreements to establish High-Level Strategic Cooperation Councils," Turkish Ambassador to Sudan İrfan Neziroğlu told Daily Sabah in an interview in August. "And Africa sees Turkey as a hope. This is why Turkey's achievements, from economy to sports, is celebrated passionately here. Turkey needs Africa and Africa needs Turkey," he added.

Oktay is accompanied by Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan and Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli during his visit.

They have signed 12 separate cooperation agreements in the fields of security, tourism and military cooperation, while Turkey was contracted to rebuild a dilapidated Ottoman-era seaport on Sudan's Suakin Island and a dock for civilian and military use.

Located on the west coast of the Red Sea, the island is only 261 nautical miles away from Jeddah, the second-largest city in Saudi Arabia. Until the 19th century, Suakin was the residential address of the Ottoman Empire's Habesh Eyalet, which encompasses today's Eritrea, Djibouti and northern Somalia. Ottomans used the port city to protect the Hejaz province, present-day western Saudi Arabia, from attacks on the Red Seafront.

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