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Sudanese Turkish Relations (1)

Mohamed Osman

On the occasion of the visit of his Excellency President Reccep Tayyib Erdogan to the Sudan, the Sudan news Agency SUNA has prepared a dossier on the bilateral relations and areas of cooperation:-

Relations between Sudan and Turkey go back to 1555 when the entire region bordering the Red Sea area came under the Ottoman rule. The Turks then established what came to be known as the Iyala or province of Abyssinia on the east part of the Sudan as well as some of the areas covering what is current day Eritrea. The capital city of that province was today's Suakin town in the Sudan.
The central and southern areas of the Sudan came under the Turkish rule in the year 1821 when Mohammed Ali Pasha invaded the country. This rule under Mohammed Ali Pasha continued until it was knocked down by the Mahdism revolutionaries in 1885. However, the Turks left a huge legacy behind.
This legacy is clear in all walks of life in the Sudan including in the agriculture, artisanal, health, medical, social, transport and army domains. It went as deep as the food culture in the Sudan. It suffices to say that the language of today's Sudan is deeply borrowing from the Turkish language (e.g. Shafakhana (dispensary) Adbakhana (toilet), pashkatib (clerk), silahkhana (slaughterhouse), silahlique (weapons deposit), jabakhana (ammunition) Bringi (first) etc.).
Geopolitically the two countries enjoy similar traits. Each is strategically located in a geopolitical region and plays a major role and a major player in its region. The recent years have witnessed a rising role by turkey in the region particularly in the Middle East. It also plays an important role in the civilization dialogue and the rapprochement between the East and the West. As Sudan is under fire because of its rich human and natural resources, Turkey is likewise targeted because of the same and faces huge challenges.

Bilateral relation and the huge leaps achieved
In recent history Sudan established diplomatic representation with Turkey in 1981, the year that witnessed the first visit by a Sudanese head of state, the late Jaafar Mohammed Nimeiri. The relations, following that visit, witnessed huge and successive development that went to the peak at the begging of the millennium, in particular after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), 2005, and the formation of the National Unity Government in the country.
When The Justice and Development Party (abbreviated officially AK Parti in Turkish) took over in turkey in 2002, and when the Turkish people voted anew for the party's government under the leadership of former Prime Minister and current President, Reccep Tayyib Erdogan in 2006, relations witnessed huge development and progress between Ankara and Khartoum, not only in political stands but also in regional, bilateral and international stands. Most prominent in these is developments could be seen as follows:-

Political Level:
1 - The two countries supported each other in the international forums. Sudan played a vital role in Turkey gaining the non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council for the period 2009-2010. Turkey continued to strongly back the Sudan's independence and sovereignty, stability and unity of its soils
2- Sudan backed the election of Turkey for the position of the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in 2007
3- Sudan continued to call for resolution of the Cyprus issue within the United Nations
4- Turkey backed the Sudan within the UN and other international fora saying diplomatic channels should be followed to resolve all question of relevance to the Sudan, and has firmly rejected allegation of the so call international criminal court against his Excellency the President of the Republic
5- Turkey tabled proposal for boosting peace and stability in the Sudan and south Sudan, through a tripartite mechanism including Ankara, Khartoum and Juba, through the implementation of joint economic projects that would continue development of the joint border areas in a way that would boost peace and stability
6- Helped with the establishment of the joint political consultation committee between the ministries of foreign affairs in the two countries, 2011, to be headed by the undersecretaries in the two ministries. The committee so far held three meetings
7- The establishment of joint ministerial committee to help with the economic and trade exchange and cooperation between the two countries. The committee is headed by the Ministers for Agriculture.
8- The most recent joint ministerial committee meeting reviewed cooperation in the trade, investment, economy, animal wealth, science and technology, trade, mining, forests, environment, water resources, communication, transportation, health, education, culture, technical assistance, and capacity building.

The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) has established a number of projects as donation to the Sudan of which:
1- A 50 million dollar hospital in Nyala, south Darfur, inaugurated in February 2014
2- A vocational training center in Khartoum
3- An artificial fertilization center in Managil town, central Sudan
4- Rehabilitation and refurbishment of labs in Darfur Universities
5- Rehabilitation of archeological sites in Suakin, Eastern Sudan

Exchange of visits
On the Sudan side:
- A number of official visits by senior government officials were conducted to Turkey of which two visits by the President of the Republic Omar Bashir to Turkey, the First Vice President of the Republic, Gen Bakri Hassan Salih, and former First Vice President of the Republic, Ali Osman Mohamed Taha, also paid a visit to Turkey. Former Assistant of the President of the Republic, also paid an official visit to Turkey.
- At the ministerial levels, the country was visited by the Minister for Foreign Affairs on several occasions, as well as by the Ministers of Agriculture, Minister of Animal Resources, Minister for Mines and Minister for Finance, Minister for Energy, the Minister for Human Resources Development and the Minister for Health, Defense and the Minister for Endowments.
- The governors of Khartoum state, south Darfur, Sinnar and Gedarif paid official visits to Turkey, besides the vice chancellors of a number of universities and the director of Housing fund, the director of police and a delegation from the parliamentary economic committee.
In 2014-2015
1- The first vice president of the republic, Gen Bakri Hassan Salih paid a visit to turkey in august 2014 to take part in the celebrations marking the inauguration ceremony for President Reccep Tayyeb Erdogan. He also visited Turkey in the period 23-25 of April 2015 to attend the Peace Summit and participate in the 100th anniversary of Shanakali Battle
2- The former minister for Foreign Affairs, Ali Ahmed Karti paid a visit to Turkey in 23-25 April 2014 and in aril 9-10 2015
3- The former Minister for Finance and National economy, Badr Eddin Mahmoud, accompanied by the Minister for Agriculture and by the Governor of the Central Bank of Sudan, paid a visit to turkey 1-4 of 2014.
4- Visit by the former minister for health, 27 march 2015
5- Several visits by Ministers from states and by commissioner to turkey in the period January- May 2015
A number of agreement and memoranda of understanding were signed during these visits including:-
- Agreement on cooperation an partnership in agricultural domains
- Agreement on encouraging and protection of investment
- Agreement on goods and people transport via land roads
- Memorandum of Understanding in fisheries fields
- Memorandum of understanding in free market zones

On the side of Turkey
- Former prime minister and current President Reccep Tayyib Erdogan visited the Sudan in March 2006. His visit to Darfur was the first visit by a most senior official to the region by any foreign official
- The Speaker of Turkish Parliament and other ministers and officials paid visit to the Sudan
- The Secretary General of the Justice and Development Party and the State Minister for Religious Affairs, the TIKA Director General as well as the Minister for Education and Instruction came to the Sudan. The Minister for Agriculture paid several visits to the Sudan
The joint Ministerial committee
The most important agreement signed by the two countries include:
- The technical cooperation agreement 1989
- The cultural cooperation protocol 1992
- The health cooperation protocol 2007
- The Sudan debt rescheduling agreement 1999
- Several other agreement on credits facilitation for the construction of bridges and sewage systems 2002
- Cooperation agreement between the ministries of interior in the two countries, as well as other related protocols
- An agreement between the national center for diplomatic studies and the Turkish Diplomatic Academy was signed in 2010
- An agreement on cancellation of visa for holders of diplomatic passports between the two countries was signed in 2010
- A memorandum of understanding in the field of orientation and endowment signed in March 2015
- A memorandum of understanding in the field of information and electronic technology was signed between the ministries of foreign affairs in April 2015
- An agreement in the domain of Electronic Health was singed in Khartoum in April 2015
- A framework agreement on technical and scientific cooperation in the military areas was signed in April 2015

Trade relations:
- The volume of trade is limited to 291 million dollars in 2013, against 260 million in 2014 and reaching 320 million in 2015
- The most important goods exchanged: from the Sudan these include agriculture exports and from Turkey it includes electronic equipment, industrial, agricultural and cloth production inputs
The Economic Relations between Sudan and Turkey
- The Turkish export development bank has contributed in a number of infrastructure projects in Khartoum state including the Meck Nimir Bridge, the Halfaya Bridge, the Khartoum water project, the Sewage system in Khartoum north area, cosign a total of about 100 million dollars
- The government of Turkey has provided the Sudan with a credit facilitation of about 100 million dollars in 2008 to encourage Turkish companies invest in the Sudan. This sum was raised to some 200 million dollars
- Turkey also provided a grant for the establishment of the Turkish Hospital in Kalakla in Khartoum worth 4.7 million dollar in 2000
- It also provided a grant for free of charge medical treatment in Turkey for a number of Sudanese patients
The Cultural and Media relations
- The two countries have signed a number of agreements in the media domain and efforts are underway to reinvigorate them with the view to achieve the common objectives of cooperation between the two nations in the various domains, this was particularly valid after Turkey set a new Arabic language TV channel
- -Turkey also provide scholarships for 30 Sudanese nationals to study in the various universities in Turkey
- Another 70 scholarships for university and post graduate studies also set aside for Sudanese nationals who should apply directly to the concerned universities
- A number of Turkish musical banks paid a visit to the Sudan to take part in some of the musical festivals organized in the Sudan
- General consulate for the Sudan was opened in Istanbul in 2007, and an economic commissariat was attached to it in 2014.


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