The Presidency has said that it will not allow any business entity operating within its domain to undermine its relationship with the Republic of Turkey.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, disclosed this in an opinion titled ‘Takeaways from President Buhari’s epic visit to Turkey.’
The Presidency was referring to “some Turkish investments, schools and hospitals associated with an opposition figure linked to the abortive coup and attempted assassination of President Erdogan.”
The Turkish President, Recep Erdogan, during a joint press conference with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) in Abuja in October, said terrorists who tried to remove him through a coup in 2016 were still active in Nigeria.
Erdogan who was on a two-day official visit to Nigeria had in 2016 accused allies of a renowned cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who own Turkish schools and hospitals across Nigeria, of sponsoring the coup.
Turkish envoy in Nigeria, Mr Hakan Cakil, had at the time called on Buhari to close the Turkish schools and hospitals in Nigeria belonging to a group of private Turkish investors who are inspired by the philosophy of the Hizmet movement.
The Nigerian government, however, rejected the proposal.
On Sunday, shortly after Buhari’s return from Turkey, the Presidency said “As we go into January next year, a team from the Turkish defence establishment is expected to be in Nigeria in the effort to advance the discussions on the issue of military procurement.
“The national security component equally has a Turkish angle to it and one that turned to be one of the gains, in the sense that both countries have a common view of what Turkey perceives as a security threat to their nation and its leaders present in Nigeria.
“This is about some Turkish investments, schools and hospitals associated with an opposition figure linked to the abortive coup and attempted assassination of President Erdogan.
“This had existed as a critical but unspoken issue, with the potential to undermine the relationship despite the strong bond of friendship based on trust between the leaders of the two nations. It appears however that a strong common ground and understanding is reached.
“The government of Nigeria will not allow any part of our territory to be used to undermine a friendly state such as Turkey.
“Under our strict Central Bank and Financial Intelligence Unit’s governance structure and management, money from the investments in issue cannot be moved anywhere to finance subversive activities.”
Shehu added that while protection of foreign investment is sacrosanct, the government will not allow interest, individual or group, to undermine the warm and cordial relationship between the two nations.
Referencing Turkey’s interest in Africa, the Presidency opined that “the embrace of Turkey by Africa is a logical path to follow, given that the country had gone through the big economies in search of economic and national development, abandoned that process and became, on their own, the fastest growing economy in Europe.
“Turkey is serious about working with Africa in a win-win relationship. Though not yet accepted as a member of the EU, it is a major player in the continent in many ways and is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Turkey also has strong links in the Middle East.
“In Asia, the competition is stiff, with China, Japan, South Korea and the rest. But see what discipline, national mobilization and determination have brought Turkey to where it is today. So, Africa may seem for them, a good bet for solidarity and market.
“For us on the continent, it is not in doubt that the big countries are not outrightly helpful at all times. In some instances, as with the COVID-19 vaccine, we have seen how it might become right.”