Turkey seeks to boost trade volume with Sudan to $10 bln
KHARTOUM – Anadolu Agency
Turkey wants to boost bilateral trade volume with Sudan to $10 billion, visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Dec. 24.
Erdoğan’s remarks came at a joint news conference following a closed-door meeting with his Sudanese counterpart, Omar al-Bashir.
“We need to raise our trade volume to $1 billion and then to $10 billion. We have to take appropriate steps for this,” Erdoğan said.
The current trade volume between Turkey and Sudan stands at around $500 million, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).
Erdoğan said the two leaders agreed to set up a high-level strategic council to increase the economic cooperation between the two countries.
He said that his country was aware of the economic potential of Sudan. “We encourage businessmen to invest in Sudan,” he added.
Turkey’s exports to Sudan amounted to $328.5 million from January to October 2017, while imports from the country stood at $78.3 million.
Both countries signed a total of 13 agreements on Dec. 24, pertaining to defense cooperation, mining, agriculture, forest, science, education, tourism, environment, support for small businesses and establishment of a strategic council.
Erdoğan said he also spoke with al-Bashir on issues related to Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem is an issue that concerns all of humanity. We will continue to support Palestinians. The United Nations must monitor the issue of Jerusalem,” the Turkish president said.
On Dec. 21, The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution on Jerusalem by an overwhelming majority, calling on the U.S. to withdraw its recognition of the city as Israel’s capital.
The Sudanese president, for his part, said Erdoğan’s visit to Sudan, which is the first by a Turkish president, would boost relations between the two nations.
“Brother Erdoğan’s visit is very important as Muslims around the world are exposed to repression and torture and they need unity and togetherness,” al-Bashir added.
Later, the Turkish president addressed the Sudanese parliament on the evening of Dec. 24.
Erdoğan praised al-Bashir’s efforts in Sudan’s National Dialogue Process.
“I would especially like to express my content over Sudan being able to leave behind the troubled period during the last 20 years,” he said.
“We welcome the support given to the National Dialogue Process initiated under the leadership of Mr. President al-Bashir and supported by your esteemed parliament members,” he said.
The Turkish president also called on “the armed groups and opposition parties, which are not participating in the National Dialogue Process” to also become involved in the process “as soon as possible.”
Erdoğan underlined that Sudan proved to be “a responsible member” of the international community via its “constructive active foreign policy towards the security and stability of the region.”
He ended his remarks at the parliament by reaffirming Turkey’s support to the country.
On Dec. 25, he will visit several Ottoman historical sites in the eastern Sudanese town of Suakin, which has been an important port city for centuries.
He is later scheduled to attend a Sudanese-Turkish business forum with his Sudanese counterpart.