Turkey to restore Sudan island after first lady’s move
Turkish First Lady Emine Erdoğan helped convincing Sudan hand Turkey the restoration of Suakin Island in a bid to improve tourism, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.
“[My Sudanese counterpart] thankfully agreed. Of course after the intervention of the First Lady, he accepted,” Erdoğan said, while speaking at a Dec. 28 ceremony in Ankara to distribute scinece awards.
“I said if you will hand this place to us for long period of time, then we can restore all of this island. I said you will see an important flow of tourists from Turkey, and the history will be revealed,” Erdoğan said.
Speaking at a Turkey-Sudan Forum organized by the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEİK) in the African country on Dec. 25, Erdoğan said Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir had agreed to hand the island to Turkey for rebuilding in a bid to boost Umrah tourism upon his request.
Suakin, one of the oldest seaports in Africa, was used by African Muslims who set out for pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Ottomans used the port city to secure Hejaz province - present-day western Saudi Arabia - from attackers using the Red Sea front.
Erdoğan also stated that such a reconstruction of the island would contribute to its historic heritage, adding that those who want to go to Mecca for Umrah from Turkey would first visit the island before crossing to Jeddah by ship, in what he called “package tourism.”
“This will also bring about the socializing of our people, and history will be resurrected again,” he said.