The Turkish Ambassador to The Gambia has affirmed his country’s determination to engage The Gambia more in the fields of trade, education, health and culture, in strengthening the bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
Ambassador Ergin Soner was speaking recently during a press conference at his Embassy at the Brufut Heights in the wake of the attempted coup in his country.
“Turkey and The Gambia have been enjoying friendly relations for a very long time. Turkey is one of the first countries in the world which recognised Gambia’s independence back in 1965. After that starting from the early 90s, Turkey and The Gambia were able to develop military cooperation as Turkey’s Armed Forces started organising training programmes for members of The Gambia Armed Forces. I am sure the bilateral cooperation between the two countries will improve a lot more than the present level,” he added.
According to him, despite the fact they were late to open up their embassy in The Gambia, the bilateral relationships between the two countries over the years have blossomed.
He indicated that Turkey and The Gambia opened up embassies in each other’s capital in 2011 and 2012 respectively. With the opening of these two embassies, Ambassador Soner maintained that the two countries were able to register gains in various areas.
The Turkish diplomat indicated that the Turkish Cooperation Agency (TIKAD) has already been having a lot with some state-owned agencies and ministries, but that they are very much eager to attract more Turkish private sector businesses into The Gambian market.
“With the help of the Turkish private sector so many advantages would be achieved on both sides. First, they will start better economic activities here and they will be able to create new job opportunities for Gambian families. There will be extra financial contribution to the Gambia’s annual budget as well as boost the financial standing of the private sector.”
In terms of economic relations between the two countries, Ambassador Soner noted that they are looking at a bigger picture than just bilateral relations as they want The Gambia to be a commercial industrial investment base for Turkey in the West Africa region.
“We have a perfect atmosphere and at the level of political relations between the two countries especially at the governmental level, we are so close to each other. We are supporting each other in almost every effort globally, like international fora and meetings. So all we have to do is turn these already perfect political relations into better economic trade cooperation,” he affirmed.
by Sheriff Janko