By Bakary Ceesay
The visiting Turkish President to The Gambia, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told journalists on Monday at State House that the trade relationship with Banjul is at the desired level of cooperation.
Erdoğan and his host President, Adama Barrow were engaged in a joint press conference shortly after his arrival to the West African state.
“Your government has demonstrated strong support to our transitional programmes with military support to the sum of 17 million US dollars for a period of five years which is ongoing,” Barrow who first spoke said.
He said his government has also gained the support from Turkey to build the capacity of the security forces by training 500 officers on peacekeeping.
“Your excellency, we continue to appreciate the pledges you made during my visit to build a children’s hospital and offices for the parliamentarians.
“Turkish instrumental role in supporting the Gambia to host the OIC Summit and sharing the Turkish experience in hosting such a would event is highly appreciated,” Barrow stated.
Barrow said the formation of the joint economic commission between the two countries has created an investment opportunity which holds a flagship position within their cooperation. According to him, this is vital for the private sectors of both countries.
He believes that the coming of the Turkish president’s visit will strengthen their bilateral ties and it will boost the socio-economic growth for both states.
Meanwhile, President Erdoğan said Gambia’s decisive start had made it an example for other African countries.
“The economic and trade relationship we have with the Gambia is now at the desired level. Between Turkey and Gambia in 2019, the trade value reached 55 million dollars,” he disclosed.
He stated that his wish is to carry on with bilateral trade towards a more balanced structure.
“In 2013, between our countries we signed up on the promotion and reciprocal protection of the investment agreement. We completed the internal ratification of the agreement in our country and we hope that the process will also be completed in the Gambia.
He said the avoidance of double taxation agreement the two states signed in 2014 has been put into force on February 26th, 2018.
He stressed that Turkey would always base their relationship with Africa on just and balanced benefit of both sides.
According to him, aside from selling products, Turkish investors are also creating jobs and are focusing on developing and strengthening the continent of Africa through their projects – ensuring that their firms will be creating more investments in the Gambia.
“In the new Gambia, I believe the Gambia government will give more responsibility to our contractors,” he added.