The head of Department for West Africa at the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that his country and The Gambia will deepen bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade and commerce.
He said they will also invest more in Gambia’s health sector, communication and media relations. Ege Turemen was speaking in an interview with the Daily Observer on the sidelines of the African press delegation’s visit to Ankara, Turkey last week.
“The relations between The Gambia and Turkey since 2012, when we first opened an embassy in Banjul, are in a building process but a lot of progress has already been made. It’s an ongoing process and we will also build capacity in various areas,” Mr. Turemen said at his Ministry’s office in Ankara.
The vice president of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), Ali Maskan, said with time, his country’s investment will improve in The Gambia. He indentified capacity building projects and information technology as key areas they want to invest in Gambians.
“We have no natural resources in Turkey and all we have is our brain so 30 years ago, we sent a lot of our young people to prestigious universities across the world to get the best education but today, tens of thousands of people from around the world are coming to Turkey to study,” Mr. Maskan noted.
A senior expert at TIKA, Halil Ibrahim Okur disclosed TIKA’s million dollar imminent investment in the School of Medicine and Allied Sciences under the University of The Gambia. He said representatives from The Gambia government were in Ankara recently, noting that the project would soon get underway.
Mehmet Akarca, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and the director of the Directorate General of Press and Information commended The Gambia for its support on the night of July 15 when a scandalous faction in the Turkish armed forces, backed by FETO, attempted to overthrow and assassinate President Recip Tayyip Edorgan.
In the end, 240 were martyred and another 2,500 wounded. Banjul was one of the first countries to show sympathy to Ankara in those moments of uncertainty. “Turkey and Gambia are like brothers and we have multiple relations. Gambia is very close to our hearts and we are very much aware and appreciative of their efforts,” Akarca, a former journalist with more than 42 years experience in the newsroom said.
“Gambians acted in a great way to close FETO linked schools in its country. These people hid behind education to perpetrate heinous crimes in our country and they are dangerous for the African countries that they have built schools.”
According to Professor Kudret Bulbul, the president of Turks Abroad and Related Meetings, his country has awarded 140 scholarships to Gambian students since 1992. He said last year alone, Turkey had received 180,000 applicants from 122,000 countries of which 5,000 were awarded full scholarships in various fields of study, including Gambians. He also disclosed plans to increase the amount of scholarships awarded to Gambians.
by Baboucarr Camara in Ankara, Turkey