Turkey, Africa

'Turkey aims to boost cooperation in defense industry with Nigeria'

2 countries enjoy positive, multidimensional relations, says Turkish envoy in Abuja

Adam Abu Bashar   | 19.10.2021
'Turkey aims to boost cooperation in defense industry with Nigeria'

ABUJA, Nigeria

Turkey aims to further its trade and cooperation in the defense industry, along with dialogue on energy and political issues with Nigeria, the Turkish envoy in Abuja said.

The two countries enjoy positive and multidimensional relations, Hidayet Bayraktar told Anadolu Agency.

Turkey is in cooperation with Nigeria on many different areas spanning from economy to defense industry, from energy to humanitarian affairs, in addition to political issues Bayraktar said.

Citing trade figures for 2020, Bayraktar said Nigeria is Turkey's largest trading partner in Sub-Saharan Africa, adding: "However, considering the potential of the two countries, we do not see these achievements sufficient."

He said the relations between Turkey and Nigeria date back to the Ottoman Empire, and Kanem-Bornu Empire that was once existed in the areas which are now part of Niger, Chad, Nigeria, and Cameroon.

"A treaty of friendship and trade was signed between the two states in 1555-1556. In this respect, Turkey-Nigeria relations have a friendly and historical background dating back many years," he added.

Turkey-Nigeria relations

Recalling President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Nigeria in 2016, Bayraktar said that it was very exciting that a high-level visit will take place again after five years.

The Turkish president on Sunday started a four-day tour of three African countries, including Angola, Togo, and Nigeria.

He stressed that there is a close friendship between Erdogan and his Nigerian counterpart Mohammed Buhari, and said that the two leaders spoke over the phone three times this year.

Erdogan will discuss international issues as well as bilateral issues during his visit to Nigeria, the envoy said, adding that the Turkish president will also attend the Turkey-Nigeria Business Forum and open Turkey's Yunus Emre Institute in the capital Abuja.

"It is extremely important that the win-win understanding that we are trying to establish with Nigeria is adopted by the brotherly and friendly Nigerian authorities and people," Bayraktar stressed.

Nigeria is Turkey's top trading partner in Sub-Saharan Africa with a trading volume of $754 million in 2020, which is expected to rise to more than $1 billion.

Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, is among Turkey's oil and gas suppliers.

Besides, the fight against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, is expected to be discussed during the Turkish president's visit.

There is an expectation from the Nigerian government to show more solidarity in the fight against FETO, Bayraktar underlined.

He observed that Nigerian authorities have been more knowledgeable and conscious about this treacherous structure, and said this is an important development.

Turkey's efforts against the FETO terror group will continue.

Positive image in Nigeria

Turkey has a positive image in Africa, especially in Nigeria, Bayraktar said, stressing the importance of the view in Nigeria that Turkish products are of good quality.

He said the presence and activities of Turkish Airlines in Nigeria and Turkey’s win-win- understanding with Africa also played an important role in this positive view towards Turkey.

"In particular, I observe an increasing backlash against Chinese goods. Nigerians are seeking new suppliers due to the pandemics. Regardless of the sector, the result they reach in their search is always Turkey. There is no other production center that can compete with Turkish products in terms of quality and price," he said.

Also, Bayraktar highlighted the Nigerians’ admiration for infrastructure projects that Turkey has completed in recent years and its high-tech products in the defense industry.

As Africa's largest economy and most populated country, the envoy said, Nigeria is an important market for Turkish exporters and investors.

"The vast majority of our investors I have spoken to here are satisfied with their earnings. Turkish Airlines has daily direct flights to the country's two largest cities, Lagos and Abuja. Cargo services are also carried out in a way to cover other cities. This is an important opportunity for our investors and exporters to enter the Nigerian market," Bayraktar said.

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