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Erdogan Visits Sudan, Signs Important Agreements, Leaves to Chad and Tunisia

December 26, 2017


Erdogan and Al-Bashir touring the Sudanese Island of Suakin, December 26, 2017 Erdogan greeted by Sudanese officials, December 24, 2017


Erdoğan calls for more Turkish investment in Sudan

KHARTOUM - Anadolu Agency, December 26, 2017

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Dec. 24 called for more Turkish investment in Sudan, as businesspeople from the two sides signed deals in the capital Khartoum.

Nine agreements ranging from cotton production to airport construction were signed in Khartoum during the Sudan-Turkey Business Forum.

They follow the signing of 13 agreements by the two countries on Dec. 24 regarding defense cooperation, mining, agriculture, increasing forest reserves and forest preservation, science, education, tourism, the environment, support for small businesses and the establishment of a strategic council to strengthen economic ties.

No financial information was provided on the deals.

The signing of the latest deals came on the final day of a two-day official visit by Erdoğan to the country.

Erdoğan also said his country remains committed to support Sudan.

Speaking at Khartoum University after being awarded an honorary doctorate, Erdoğan said Turkey would continue to be with the Sudanese people through its institutions and organizations.

Erdoğan further stated the future will be the African continent before the end of this century.

“As long as we stand together, we make effort and do not bow down as we did not bow down on [the issue of] Jerusalem,” he added.

Tension has mounted in the Palestinian territories since Dec. 6, when U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, drawing protest and condemnation from across the Arab and Muslim world.

Erdoğan and other top Turkish officials have remained at the forefront of international opposition to the U.S. move.

On Dec. 21, the U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly adopted a resolution - by a vote of 128 to 9 - calling on Trump to reverse the decision.

Erdoğan said the Islamic world is once again at the center of dirty plots as sectarian differences are fueled, ethnic separations are deepened and people who have been sharing the same land for centuries are pitted against each other as in some countries of Africa.

“They are using terrorist organizations as subcontractors, like ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant], the PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and the PYD [Democratic Union Party], in order to achieve their goals,” Erdoğan said, citing an Irish author who said: “Imperialists sniffing out oil are more dangerous than sharks sniffing out blood.” Erdoğan also said that around 800 students were learning Turkish at the Yunus Emre Turkish Cultural Center in Khartoum, and a Turkish language department will open in Khartoum University.

Erdoğan said Turkey and Sudan were also working on another project to establish a Sudan-Turkey University.

Erdoğan’s visit, the first by a Turkish president, was welcomed by his Sudanese counterpart who said it would boost relations between the two countries.


Bonding with its history, Turkey to revive former Ottoman Suakin Island in Sudan

DAILY SABAH ISTANBUL, December 26, 2017

Sudan has agreed to hand over Suakin Island to Turkey for rebuilding, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said late Monday while speaking at the Sudan-Turkey Business Forum.

After visiting the island, Erdoğan said earlier on the same day that the island needs rebuilding and called for restoration during a speech in the University of Khartoum, where he was awarded an honorary doctorate. Erdoğan said that Turkey will rebuild and revive the island.

Ottomans used the port city to secure Hejaz province – present-day western Saudi Arabia – from attacks on the Red Sea front.

During his official two-day visit to the country, Erdoğan visited several Ottoman sites, including Al-Hanafi Mosque, Al-Shafei Mosque and an old customs building located on Suakin Island. These mosques were restored by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA).

A cooperation and investment agreement between Turkey and Sudan was signed at the customs building.

Speaking at the University of Khartoum on Monday evening, Erdoğan elaborated on his impressions of Suakin Island.

"Seeing the current status of Suakin Island saddened us. The island was totally destroyed. If you assign this island to us, we will restore and make it worthy of its historical glory. Sudan will be proud of this and can take new steps in tourism," Erdoğan said and suggested that the island, when restored and revived, can be a part of the umrah or hajj route as it once was. He cited that pilgrims used to come to Suakin, spend some time on the island and then travel to Jeddah.

The president later announced at the Sudan-Turkey Business Forum that Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir agreed to assign the island to Turkey. Turkey's restoration of the island will be a strong message emphasizing the Turkish-Sudanese partnership.

Until the 19th century, Suakin was the residential address of the Ottoman Empire's Habesh Eyalet, which is today's Eritrea, Djibouti and northern Somalia.

A port city located northeast of Sudan, Suakin was the most significant port in Nubia. After the establishment of Port Sudan, Suakin diminished in importance.

In 1571, when Sultan Selim the Grim conquered Egypt, Suakin also became a part of Ottoman territory and remained as such until the 19th century.

Yemen's Governor Özdemir Pasha, who was appointed to the Habesh governorship in 1554, founded the province of Habesh on July 5, 1555 and declared Suakin Island on the Red Sea coast of Sudan as the provincial center. In the 16th century, this province was affiliated with eight sanjaks.

Fortresses were constructed by the Ottomans for the conservation of the region, and the southern navy was divided into the Indian, Suez and Muha captaincies as the Red Sea became an "Ottoman inner sea."

The administration of the city was left to the Khedivate of Egypt in 1865. With the British occupation of Egypt in 1882, the city effectively left the Turkish sovereignty and was definitely left to Egypt under British sovereignty in accordance with Article 17 of the Treaty of Lausanne dated July 24, 1923.

Suakin became part of Sudan's lands as Sudan gained independence from the British-Egyptian government in 1956.


Erdogan signs military, economic accords on first visit to Sudan

Turkey has boosted investments in struggling Sudan since south seceded in 2011, taking with it three-quarters of country's oil output

24 December (AFP) Middle East Eye

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan landed in Khartoum on Sunday and met his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir at the start of a three-country African tour.

Twelve accords were signed at the outset of his two-day visit to Khartoum, including economic and military deals as well as on the creation of a strategic cooperation council, Erdogan told a news conference.

He said the two Muslim countries aimed to boost two-way trade from the current level of $500m a year to $1bn in an initial stage and then $10bn.

Sudan's economy has been struggling since the south seceded in 2011, taking with it three-quarters of the country's oil output. In recent years, Turkey has boosted investments in Sudan.

Bashir hailed the trip by Erdogan, who is to travel on to Chad and Tunisia, as an "historic" first visit to Sudan by a Turkish president.

Sudan's leader, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide and war crimes in the strife-torn Darfur region, earlier this month attended a summit in Istanbul of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

Erdogan called on those at the summit to condemn US President Donald Trump's recognition on 6 December of the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.


Erdoğan's Africa tour kicks off in Sudan, boosting economic and political cooperation


Published December 24, 2017

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan arrived in Sudan on Sunday marking the first time a Turkish president visited the country.

Erdoğan was greeted at the Khartoum International Airport by his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir.

At a joint news conference following a closed-door meeting with Bashir, Erdoğan said Turkey wants to boost the two countries' bilateral trade volume.

"We need to raise our trade volume to $1 billion and then to $10 billion. We have to take appropriate steps for this," Erdoğan said.

The current trade volume between Turkey and Sudan stands around $500 million, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).

Erdoğan also said the two leaders agreed to set up a high-level strategic council to increase the economic cooperation between the two countries.

He said that his country was aware of the economic potential of Sudan. "We encourage businessmen to invest in Sudan," he added.

Turkey's exports to Sudan amounted to $328.5 million in January-October 2017, while imports from the country stood at $78.3 million.

Both countries Sunday signed 13 agreements pertaining to defense cooperation, mining, agriculture, forest, science, education, tourism, environment, support for mall businesses support and establishment of a strategic council.

Erdogan said he also spoke with al-Bashir on the issues related to Jerusalem.

"Jerusalem is an issue that concerns all of humanity... We will continue to support Palestinians. The U.N. must monitor the issue of Jerusalem," the Turkish president said.

On Thursday, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution on Jerusalem by an overwhelming majority, calling on the U.S. to withdraw its recognition of the city as Israel's capital.

Speaking to reporters at Esenboğa Airport in Ankara ahead of his Africa tour, Erdoğan said Turkey aims to further strengthen cooperation with Africa and discuss ongoing regional.

He said that the visit will aim to boost business ties and target the Gülenist Terror Group's (FETÖ) exploitation of Africa.

Erdoğan noted that many African countries deported FETÖ members following the deadly July 15, 2016 coup attempt and transferred the control of FETÖ schools to Turkey's Maarif Foundation, adding that he hopes more action will be taken against the group.

"We know very well that they are the volunteering subcontractors of the imperialists," Erdoğan highlighted, as he expressed Ankara's wish to increase the transfer of FETÖ-linked schools in Africa to Turkish authorities.

"We are determined not to let these murderers find shelter on the African continent. I think that this visit is also important from this perspective as well," he said.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency (AA), Dr. İrfan Neziroğlu, Turkey's ambassador to Sudan, said the visit will play a "remarkable role" in boosting the political and economic ties between the two countries.

Neziroğlu said the Sudanese government had decided to hand over two FETÖ-linked schools to the Turkish educational foundation, in line with a protocol signed earlier between Khartoum and Ankara, adding the demand for Turkish schools has increased recently.

"There is a very high demand for the Turkish schools. We'll probably think about opening new schools," the ambassador said.

Aware of the threat FETÖ poses to Africa, Ankara has been trying to replace FETÖ-run schools in the continent with state-sponsored schools.

The Maarif Education Foundation is a not-for-profit state-funded body that runs schools outside Turkey. It has taken over schools around the world previously run by FETÖ, which was behind last year's defeated coup in Turkey, including 32 in Africa, according to figures released by Turkey's National Education Ministry.

Likewise, Enver Arpa, an associate professor from Ankara Social Sciences University's Eastern and African Studies Institute, said that the this visit will help Sudan.

"Acknowledged as a regional, and even a global actor, President Erdoğan's visit to Sudan will boost the morale of the country, which has been exhausted from the international pressure," Arpa said.

Sudan, once a unified country, was divided into two countries in 2011 after the Christian majority south voted in a referendum for secession, as part of the peace agreement signed in 2005, ending a civil war of more than two decades.

In the north, the population mostly consists of Muslims. During the conflict between the two parts, more than 1.5 million people were killed, and hundreds of thousands of people were forced out of their homes.

Arpa said that Sudan independent policies in the continent "angers the imperial powers" in the region, and added that Sudan is able to overcome internal problems if there are no international interventions.

Ahead of Erdoğan's visit to Chad, the Maarif Education Foundation also signed an agreement with Chadian authorities to transfer the administration of five FETÖ schools and a dormitory.

Regarding the recent crisis regarding the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Erdoğan said that as the term chairman of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), he expected President Donald Trump to call him and discuss the matter.

He added that Turkey made its call to the U.S. and continues to do so, and will always seek dialogue to resolve the matter.

The president also noted that he is planning to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the situation of hundreds of civilians who need immediate humanitarian assistance in Syria's Eastern Ghouta.

After Sudan, Erdoğan will fly to Chad's capital N'Djamena on Tuesday. On the last day of the three-day visit, the president is scheduled to fly to Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia.

The visit will be dominated by business forums to discuss investment, and Erdoğan is expected to sign cooperation deals in each state. The visit demonstrates Ankara's desire to strengthen ties with the three countries under its Africa partnership policy, a statement released by the presidency explained.


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