Nigeria will not let the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) undermine its relations with Turkey, the country's presidential spokesperson said Tuesday.
Garba Shehu said on his social media account that Abuja and Ankara share the same stance on the terrorist group.
Shehu said the money terrorism affiliates collect in the country through investments such as schools and hospitals would not be taken anywhere to finance destructive activities thanks to the close monitoring of the Nigerian Central Bank and financial intelligence departments.
He said he was referring to Turkish investments, schools and hospitals associated with figures linked to the coup and the attempted assassination of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Shehu also said Turkey had a technologically advanced and modern defense industry that would speed efforts to save Nigeria from the threat of terrorism and bandits.
Turkey recently held a third partnership summit with Africa in Istanbul.
FETÖ, led by its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen, orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, that left 251 people killed and 2,734 injured.
Nigeria is one of the African countries where FETÖ has allegedly wielded broad influence thanks to the large number of companies and schools it operates and its close ties with local officials. A group of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) had called on the government to take action against FETÖ.
Erdoğan had previously visited Nigeria in March 2016 and hosted the country's president, Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Complex in October 2017. Erdoğan had told the Nigerian leader that Turkey was ready to seize all opportunities to activate the true potential of the economic relations between the two countries.
Turkey's African policy, which encompasses political, humanitarian, economic and cultural spheres, is part of its multidimensional foreign policy. To this effect, the number of Turkish embassies in Africa has increased from just 12 in 2002 to 43 in 2021. Turkey's trade with Africa climbed to $25.3 billion by 2020 from just $5.4 billion at the end of 2003, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Having adopted a one-dimensional foreign policy shaped by its relations with the West for decades, Turkey has shifted to a more diversified, multidimensional and independent foreign policy since the end of the Cold War. Turkey's opening up to Africa, which dates back to the action plan adopted in 1998, took shape in 2005, which Ankara declared the “Year of Africa.” Turkey was accorded observer status by the Africa Union the same year.
In a reciprocal move, the African Union declared Turkey its strategic partner in 2008