Sudan and Turkey are maintaining deeply rooted and fruitful relations.
Turkey has lately begun showing increasing interest in its relations with the Sudan. This could be clearly seen in the signing of an agreement in the year 2014 to encourage exchange of investment, the signing of a memo of understanding in the field of free trade zones’ establishment toward setting up a firm infrastructure that is conducive to strengthening the economic relations between the two countries.
This will also reaffirm to the two sides the importance of increasing the mutual exports. These agreements have paved the way for arrival of Turkish investors to operate in Sudan and the establishment of joint ventures in Sudan.
The Turkish interests with Sudan have not been distant from the joint history between the two peoples. Strong fraternal ties that are based on the common religion and joint history link the two nations to each other. The single difference of the language has never been a barrier for establishing firm fraternal relations between them. Roots of relations and cooperation between Turkey and Sudan have extended to around 450 years as these relations started in the year 1555 when the Ottomans established Swaken town as a province in east Sudan. The Turks had a clear influence in many areas of life in Sudan such as agriculture, crafts, health, medical services, transport and the regular forces, while the diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1981.
Relations between Sudan and Turkey witnessed remarkable progress after the Justice and Development won the 2002 elections. Furthermore, the two sides have shown strong desire to strengthen relations; especially that Sudan is qualified to be a center of many Turkish investors. Sudan is also producer of 90% of the world’s gum Arabic.
It also sits on huge oil, gas and agricultural and livestock products resources. The Turkish companies recognized that they could engage in joint venture with the Sudanese counterparts, a matter that requires building economic integration bases. To that end the two countries are for the establishment of research institutions that can study the means for establishing and easing the work of finance institutions that will fund projects via transfers and opening braches of the Turkish banks in Sudan as well as branches of the Sudanese banks in Turkey, the establishment of joint Sudanese – Turkish banks for facilitating work of the investors.
The first attempt to strengthen cooperation between Sudan and Turkey began by formation of a committee at the ministerial level with the task of spurring economic agreements between the two countries. This committee meets regularly. A number of agreements were signed during the mandate of this committee in the agriculture technical, education, scientific cooperation, transport, mining, minerals and electricity fields. The joint committee has recommended removing customs barriers, facilitating trade and the transportation of commodities as well as agreement on the protection and encouragement of joint investment. Most researchers stated that the Sudanese – Turkish relations are witnessing development and are progressing. The volume of the trade between Sudan and Turkey is set to increase to three billion dollars in the coming two years through establishment of a joint trade grouping.
The University of Africa has organized a symposium on the Turkish – Sudanese relations and horizons of reinforcing them in the political, economic and cultural fields. The symposium has recommended indigenization of the Turkish experiences in the agricultural field in Sudan, the exchange of experiences, establishment of free trade zone at strategic areas in Sudan, e.g. Port Sudan.
The gathering recommended expanding the scopes of the cultural and educational exchange, especially in the field of the Turkish and Arabic languages and establishment of a Sudanese – Turkish cultural center. It stressed that the Turkish investments should focus on the gold, oil and gas fields, support of the private sector, the signing of academic agreements on provision of scholarships for students and lecturers in the two countries. It also recommended holding more symposiums for strengthening bilateral relations, if the professional sectors in the two countries are to assume the task of implementing these agreements.
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