Turkey donates $5 mln to Sahel anti-terror bid
Turkey will donate $5 million (4.1 million euros) to a fledgling force of five nations battling terrorism and trafficking in the Sahel, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced during a visit to Mauritania on Feb. 28.
The G5 force, gathering Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, aims to train and equip 5,000 troops to restore authority in lawless areas where jihadists have gained a foothold.
“Turkey is one of the countries which best understands the dangers with which you are confronted in the Sahel. We have therefore decided to give $5 million to help the G5 Sahel force,” Erdoğan said late on Feb. 28 in Nouakchott.
The European Union announced an extra 50 million euros ($61 million) for the G5 Sahel force at a fund-raising conference in Brussels on Feb. 23. With the Turkish pledge, a total of 418 million euros has now been promised by donors, which include Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and United States.
“Sahel countries are confronting the dangers of terrorism, extremism, illegal trafficking and drug trafficking,” Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said in a joint statement.
The force is intended to become fully operational in mid-2018, and will serve alongside France’s 4,000 troops in the area as well as the U.N.’s 12,000-strong MINUSMA peace operation in Mali.