Turkey seeks to lift trade and security ties with Nigeria

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicates during his visit to Nigeria that Turkey aims to bolster trade and security ties with West African country in order to develop new strategic partnership

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a press conference after meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria March 2, 2016.

Updated Mar 3, 2016

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan held a diplomatic meeting with Nigeria's president on Wednesday in a bid to bolster trade and security ties with the West African country under a new strategic partnership.

Addressing journalists at the presidential villa in Nigerian capital Abuja, after the closed door meeting which went on for several hours, Erdogan disclosed that Turkey was ready to help Nigeria in its reform agenda.

"Dear press members, let me underline the fact that the steps that we will take jointly with Nigeria into the future have different aspects including trade, the economy, military, political in addition to others," said Erdogan after inspecting the guard of honour.

Nigeria is facing its worst economic crisis in years - blamed on the downturn in oil prices which has lost around two-thirds of its value since mid-2014 - triggering a slide in its naira currency.

Having relied on oil for 70 percent of its revenues and 90 percent of its dollars, Abuja has had to impose budget cuts and foreign exchange controls to protect the naira, which is now trading on the street at nearly half its official value.

Since taking office in May 2015, Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari has been on 26 overseas trips, visiting Saudi Arabia and Qatar last week, where officials say he hopes to drum up interest from investors.

During his visit to Ghana on Tuesday, Erdogan said Turkey stands ready to help fight the growing threat of terrorism in west Africa under a new strategic partnership.

He said his country is seeking to build on the existing relationship they have with Nigeria.

"Indeed we have been to the Ivory Coast and gone to Ghana and now we are in Nigeria the largest country in Africa. Our relations with Nigeria goes back to old times, especially diplomatic ties. Currently, Turkey has high level strategic council agreements with twenty countries and we hope to be able to draw yet another of these with Nigeria in this part of the world," he stated. 

"We have a lot of similarities between our two countries; in political, military, educational, trade and cultural areas, our ministers can work jointly and also presidents can meet in Turkey and here in Nigeria, as a result we will have combined forces and it will be a win win basis for both of our countries," he continued.  

"This is why I did go out of my way to utter the phrase strategic partnership," Erdogan added during his time in Abuja.

Buhari said it was important to remain focused on pulling Nigeria out of its present economic crisis.

"We refuse to be demoralised, we maintain focus in terms of developing our countries, creating jobs for our people and maintaining security," he said.

Erdogan is also keen to open up new markets for his country's exporters, to seek new investment opportunities in fast-growing African economies and boost Ankara's diplomatic profile on the global stage.

TRTWorld, Reuters