Relations with Sudan deeply rooted, Turkish envoy says

DAILY SABAH WITH AA
ANKARA
Published 16.08.2019 00:18

Turkey's relations with Sudan have a strong historical background, and will not be affected by the change of government in the country, Ankara's Ambassador to Khartum İrfan Neziroğlu said.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) in Ankara during the 11th annual Ambassadors' Conference, Neziroğlu said bilateral relations will find a stronger basis in the new term, adding that Turkey never saw Sudan as an arena for struggling with other countries. "Turkey has no secret agenda in Sudan," he said.

In April, the Sudanese army ousted longtime President Omar al-Bashir, who had ruled Sudan since 1989, following months of popular protests against his rule.

After a struggle to form a stable order, Sudan's ruling military council and the pro-democracy movement signed a power-sharing agreement earlier this month aimed at paving the way for a transition to civilian rule.

According to the agreement, representatives signed a constitutional document that would establish a joint military and civilian council to rule for a little over three years until elections can be held. The agreement would also establish a cabinet appointed by the pro-democracy activists, as well as a legislative body.

Neziroğlu said the agreement will be vital in maintaining stability in the country. He added that the deal will turn a new page in Sudan. "Turkey has not intervened in Sudan's political process unlike some other countries did," he said. "We did not approve of this [intervention]. The Sudanese people should decide Sudan's future," he added.

The ambassador said Turkey's relations with Sudan have been rapidly growing after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's state visit in 2017. He added that the two countries also have a strong common historical background. "Turkey's relations with Sudan are not conjectural, but deeply rooted," the ambassador said.

President Erdoğan paid an official visit to Sudan in 2017 where he and his delegation were given a very warm welcome. Erdoğan's Sudan visit was the first by a Turkish president to the East African country and part of a larger political and economic drive to deepen Turkey's ties with the continent.

Neziroğlu also refuted claims that the transitional government is considering to repeal the agreement on Suakin Island, adding that the island has only symbolic significance for Turkey and Ankara has no plans for a military base there.

The deal on Suakin Island was one of the most significant agreements signed during Erdoğan's visit. After he visited the island in northeastern Sudan with then-President al-Bashir, Erdoğan expressed his sadness over how much of the historical island was lying in ruins. Cooperation and an investment agreement between Turkey and Sudan were signed following the visit. Aiming to turn the island into a major tourism center, especially for Hajj-bound pilgrims, restoration work was launched in January 2018.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter