Published On: Wed, Feb 22nd, 2017

Turkey to support Somalia in fight against Al shabaab

Turkey and Kenya share the same vision on fighting terrorism as well as the refugee crisis, said the head of the Turkish parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, in the Kenyan capital Nairobi Tuesday.

Ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party Malatya Deputy Taha Ozhan made the remarks amid a visit with a delegation focusing on Kenyan-Turkish bilateral ties through meetings with Kenyan parliamentarians plus International Monetary Fund and World Bank representatives.

In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Ozhan said that the visit was fruitful and that it paved the way to “development and future projects becoming possible in Kenya and Africa at large.”

“The only thing we heard from Kenya was collaboration and this made us very happy,” he added.

He said that the main topics of the meetings were refugees, terrorism, and the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group Turkey blames for last July’s defeated coup attempt, which left at least 248 martyrs in its wake and some 2,200 others injured.

“Each of our countries is struggling with mainly security issues, mainly terrorism and the refugee crisis. We share the same vision on this matter and that is why we need to deepen our relationship in all areas, including trade.”

Ozhan told Anadolu Agency that FETO has an “organized” presence in around 117 countries, including Kenya, but in some cases Ankara has persuaded governments to shut them down, and he looks forward to “good results” in Kenya.

FETO laid the groundwork for its coup attempt by infiltrating major Turkish institutions, including schools.

Uninterrupted schooling

Ozhan said Ankara has made a way countries can hand over administrations of FETO-linked schools to a Turkish-funded educational foundation, called Maarif, so students can continue their education.

Turkish Ambassador to Kenya Deniz Eke reiterated that the Maarif foundation “maintains the education quality of students and leaves their education uninterrupted with financial support, with teacher support, and all sorts of educational support,” taking into account the country’s needs and priorities.

Ozhan said Turkey will continue working closely with African countries on trade, refugee issues, and security, citing Turkey’s campaign to rehabilitate Somalia after decades of conflict, drought, and hunger.

“The same goes for Kenya. We have had an embassy in Kenya for years now, our relations are good, and our agenda is positive and we would like to deepen this,” he said.

He said that the trade volume of trade between Kenya and Turkey is quite low, at around $300 million.

“There are plenty of areas that if we collaborate very well we can reach easily $1 billion,” he added.

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