Diplomats and citizens gathered across African capitals on Monday to commemorate the 95th anniversary of the Turkish Republic, with Ankara again seeking improved ties with the continent on grounds beneficial to both parties.
The official proclamation of the Turkish Republic by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk took place on Oct. 29, 1923, when the name of the nation and its status as a republic were declared, and parliament unanimously elected Ataturk Turkey's first president.
In Addis Ababa, the seat of the African Union, Turkish and Ethiopian diplomats exchanged goodwill on the anniversary and pledged a better relationship that spans every sector of the economy, culture, and reform efforts in the host country.
Turkish envoy and special representative to the AU Fathi Ulusoy said Ankara looks forward to the Ethiopian government transferring to the Turkish government schools linked to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind a 2016 defeated coup in Turkey.
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, including the military, police, and education.
FETO also has a considerable presence outside Turkey, including private educational institutions that serve as a revenue stream for the terrorist group.
The Turkish government will continue to support the African Union's peace mission, Ulusoy added, pledging to connect Turkish businesses with their African counterparts.
He also lauded local education authorities for teaching the Turkish language in tertiary institutions across Ethiopia.
Turkish Ambassador to Kenya Ahmet Cemil Miroglu said the event also coincided with 50th anniversary of Turkey establishing a diplomatic presence in Nairobi -- its oldest embassy in black Africa.
We are committed to continuing bilateral relations in Kenya. With our Kenyan counterparts, we are working to elevate our economic cooperation to a new level, he told reporters at a briefing commemorating the foundation of Turkey.
In Nigeria, Ankara said there is no turning back on its outreach to African project launched over a decade ago.
Turkish Ambassador to Nigeria Melih Ulueren said Ankara eyes a win-win relationship with the continent and that next year's third Turkey-Africa summit in Turkey next year is designed to deepen ties.
Ulueren called on Nigeria and other African countries to strengthen trade and relations with Turkey, especially in the area of counter-terrorism and the push for inclusive reforms at the United Nations.
We have a 'win-win' approach to Turkish-Nigerian relations. The win-win approach to Africa is essential as only through such an approach will the economic potential of Africa benefit Africans first and the world later, he said.
He added: Turkey fully supports Nigeria in its struggle against Boko Haram. We commend the operations of the Nigerian army against Boko Haram. We see the lack of resources and children deprived of good education in the region to provide a fertile ground for the terrorist organization to recruit. The drying Lake Chad together with the negative effects of climate change, which is a threat multiplier, are of course among the main negative factors. The Great Green Wall Initiative for the Sahel countries therefore is appropriate.
Turkey also fights multiple terrorist organizations at the same time, namely FETO, Daesh, Al-Qaeda, and the PKK/YPG/PYD. These are cross-border organizations; therefore we call our partners to join forces. If we do not strengthen international cooperation against these threats, they will eventually damage where they laid their nests.
Over the past five years, we have largely eliminated the terrorist organization FETO, which attempted to use the economic-appropriated bureaucratic power that it accumulated over time to gain control over the Turkish state and society. One by one, countries that have heeded to Turkey's warnings and learned from its lessons are expelling this organization, which carries out similar activities around the world under the guise of education and health care. We urge all of Turkey's friends to remain vigilant and take the necessary action against the terrorist organization FETO.
The Turkish anniversary was also observed in Banjul, the capital of Gambia, where officials from both countries hailed their relationship and committed to better ties in the future.
Following the mutual opening of our embassies in Banjul and Ankara, relations between our two countries keep on growing, and diversifying in all spheres on the basis of friendship and brotherhood, said Turkish Ambassador Ismail Sefa Yuceer.
The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), Turkey's state aid agency, recently opened an office in Banjul to enhance and speed up the cooperation between the two sister countries, according to Yuceer.
The Republic of Turkey has a strong commitment to stand by the people of Gambia, said Yuceer.
With this spirit and political will on both sides, this year has been very fruitful in the overall relationship of our two friendly and brotherly countries.
Under capacity-building training, doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, diplomats, soldiers, and law enforcement personnel have continued to receive on-the-job training programs in Turkey during 2018.
Gambian officials, for their part, hailed Turkey's role in helping to rebuild the tiny West African nation after the fall of strongman leader Yahya Jammeh as well as helping prepare to host the 2019 summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
James Gomez, Gambia's fisheries minister, said Turkey has been the country strategic partner and a trusted ally.
The decision of the Turkish Airways to start bi-weekly flights to Banjul will further strengthen our people and business-to-business relationship, Gomez said in a goodwill message at the event.
Source: Anadolu Agency