Nigeria, Turkey Extol Relations: Seek improved trade ties

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President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has described relations between Nigeria and Turkey as mutually beneficial, while noting that Turkey is a strategic partner in Nigeria's quest for economic growth and development.

He stated this during bilateral discussions with President of the Republic of Turkey, Abdullah Gul, in State House Abuja today. President Gul was among leaders at the just concluded D-8 summit in Abuja.

President Jonathan particularly eulogized Turkey's participation in Nigeria's educational sector through the establishment of secondary and tertiary institutions.

He pointed out that Turkey stands to gain a lot from trade and investments in Nigeria given its population and market.

President Gul expressed his desire for improved relations between Nigeria and Turkey and requested that the legal framework be put in place for Joint Economic Cooperation meeting between both countries in September, in his country.  

President Jonathan later hosted his Turkish counterpart and members of his delegation to an official lunch at the State House, after which they proceeded to address the Nigeria-Turkey Trade and Investment Forum, at the Congress Hall of the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

President Jonathan seized the occasion to formally invite Turkish business entrepreneurs to take advantage of Nigeria's liberal investment climate to invest in critical sectors in the country.

He noted the expansion of trade and investments between both countries, with exports from Nigeria hitting $1bn.

He thus enjoined Nigerian businessmen and their Turkish counterparts to utilize the excellent political and diplomatic relations that exist between both countries to grow the volume of trade.

While emphasizing the need for cooperation among the D-8 countries to be private sector-driven, President Jonathan promised to visit Turkey within the months of September and October as a follow up on investment cooperation between both countries.

“The role of Government is pivotal to economic growth. I believe our two countries and people will benefit greatly from these economic engagements,” Jonathan stated.

Also speaking at the Forum, President Gul congratulated Nigeria for successfully hosting the just-concluded D-8 summit. He expressed confidence in President Jonathan's ability advance the frontiers of development cooperation among the D-8 countries.

He acknowledged Nigeria's status as one of the most important countries in Africa, and expressed his country's interest to increase investments in Nigeria in the areas of energy and construction.

“Our job as statesmen is to provide the opportunity and climate for improved trade relations between our countries,” Gul stated.

He also called on Nigeria to build refineries given its crude oil production capacity, for domestic consumption and export.

Earlier, the President of the Conference of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey (TUSKOM), Rizanur Meral, described Nigeria and Turkey as two rising stars in their respective regions. He listed agriculture, aviation services, customs, and construction as potential areas in which both countries can step up trade relations.