Turkey coup plotters still active in Nigeria, Erdogan tells Buhari

• We’ve signed 8 agreements on energy, defense, mining ― Buhari

Visiting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has told President Muhammadu Buhari that those who planned the abortive coup against him on July 15, 2016, are still active in Nigeria.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his host at the presidential villa, Abuja on Wednesday, the Turkish president hoped that with the two countries sharing intelligence, they could forge closer solidarity in the fight against terrorism.

Recall that Turkey had accused the coup leaders of being linked to the Gulen Movement led by Fethullah Gulen reported to have about 17 schools in Nigeria.

President Erdogan, while extending his condolences to Nigeria on the Goronyo attack in Sokoto state where about 40 persons were killed, said his country is ready to share defense industry and security capabilities with Nigeria.

He said: “We are ready to share our ever-expanding capabilities, as the Republic of Turkey, with Nigeria, especially in the field of defense industry and security, which are being praised by the entire globe.

“This sensitivity that we showcase in fighting terrorism, I hope, will be reciprocated by our Nigerian brothers and sisters and our counterparts.

“As we’re probably aware of the fact that Turkey has been fighting against terrorist organisations for many decades, such as the PKK, PYD, FETO, DASH and other terrorist organisations.

“The perpetrator of the heinous failed coup of July the 15th, FETO, is still illegally active in Nigeria, and we are continuously sharing our intelligence with the Nigerian interlocutors and authorities.

“I hope and pray that our Nigerian brothers will forge a closer solidarity in this field with us, the Republic of Turkey.

“I hope and pray that our visit will yield the most auspicious results and I would like to thank my distinguished brother, President Buhari, for being such a gracious host for me and for my delegation.“

He said the trade volume between both countries reached &2 billion in 2020, making Nigeria the outstanding and the biggest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa.

“However, we still believe that this level of trade we have achieved is far from being adequate. We hope and pray that we will be expanding our trade volume up to $5 billion immediately.

“We hope that the relations between the two nations will be further developed on the basis of a win-win scenario and mutual respect,’’ President Erdogan said through an interpreter.

The Turkish president’s visit led to the signing of eight Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on a number of the key sectors including energy, defense industry, mining and hydrocarbons among others between Nigeria and Turkey.

President Buhari revealed this in remarks at the joint press conference as he spoke on the accomplishments from the his Turkish counterpart’s visit.

President Buhari said: ‘‘During the visit, we held very useful discussions on a number of bilateral issues, aimed at strengthening this cordial relationship between Nigeria and Turkey.

“The key issues we touched on included a series of Bilateral Agreements and Memoranda of Understanding that had been finalised.

“As a positive outcome, eight major Agreements/MoUs on a number of the key sectors including Energy, Defense Industry, Mining and HydroCarbons among others were signed today. We have agreed that implementation is to commence immediately.

“In the course of our discussions, we also reviewed the travel ban list based on the revised COVID-19 protocols and removed Turkey from Nigeria’s Travel Ban List. Turkey has indeed achieved remarkable success in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.’’

President Buhari added that Erdogan’s meeting with a Joint Session of Nigeria and Turkish Chambers of Commerce and Industry, before departing Nigeria, would be another opportunity to engage and exchange views on more productive ways of pushing ahead the socio-economic ties between the two countries.

He thanked the Turkish President and the First Lady for commissioning the Turkish Cultural Centre in Abuja as well as opening the newly renovated Government Secondary School in Wuse, Abuja, undertaken by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIIKA).

The president praised Erdogan for opening his country’s borders to accommodate millions of refugees in dire need of humanitarian support.

He said his Turkish counterpart has set an example to the rest of the world on how to treat refugees.

“I commend Your Excellency for your leadership and generosity in receiving and accommodating 4 million refugees fleeing from conflict areas particularly in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. You have indeed set an example to the rest of the world,” the Nigerian leader said.

Buhari described the two-day visit of President Erdogan and the First Lady, Emine Erdogan, as a reflection of the “robust, warm and cordial bilateral relation’’ between Nigeria and Turkey.

He noted that it was the second time he has had “the pleasure of receiving my Brother in Abuja.”

President Erdogan first visited Nigeria in march 2016.

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