Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoglu announced on Saturday 25 July that Turkey signed a military cooperation agreement with Niger during his visit to the African nation, where he held meetings with a number of officials and discussed the effects of the Libyan situation on the region.
During his visit, Çavuşoglu met Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou in the capital, Niamey, and assured him that Turkey “best understands Niger’s efforts to combat terrorism”. He also declared Turkey’s interest in participating in economic development in the northern African country, especially in the areas of agriculture, mining, transport, construction and energy.
As part of Turkey’s cooperation with Africa, Anadolu Agency reported that the Turkish government has donated millions of dollars for infrastructure development on the continent and has sponsored hundreds of African students.
Turkey’s presence is felt across the continent, where there are a number of Turkish organisations, including the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), Maarif Foundation and Yunus Emre Institute, among others. LINK
Niger was the second country visited by Turkey’s foreign minister during his tour of West Africa, which started in Togo and concluded with a visit to Equatorial Guinea.
Çavuşoglu started his visit to Niger on July 21, meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, African Integration and Nigeriens Abroad Kalla Ankourao, as well as Prime Minister Brigi Rafini.
Several protocols and agreements were signed between Turkey and Niger, including the areas of delivery of goods, financial aid, military training, and youth and sports.
Cavusoglu commented of his talks with Nigerien President Issoufou Mahamadou on boosting relations between the two countries.
“With the president, we also evaluated [bilateral] cooperation against terrorism. We saw how Africa in general and especially Niger and the Sahel region are affected by terrorism.”
Regional countries are being affected by the fragile situation in war-torn Libya, just north of Niger, he said, adding that Libya was also discussed during the meeting. LINK
Turkey also has a military training agreement with Somalia, which serves as the basis for a significant permanent Turkish military presence and operational base in the country.
Apart from providing a potential alternative bridgehead, logistical base and transport hub for Turkey’s military operations in Libya, the Military Training Cooperation Agreement signed with Niger could also serve as a means to curb France’s influence and oppose the French military’s efforts in Africa’s Sahel region given that country’s vocal criticism of Turkey’s activities in and around the eastern Mediterranean and shows of support for Greece and Egypt in recent times. Turkey is unlikely to miss an opportunity to disrupt and if possible undermine French interests in the region in retaliation. LINK
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