The official visit of the Vice Chairman of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, nicknamed “Hemedti”, ended with the ministers and senior officials to Turkey on May 27-28, 2021. Dagalo and his accompanying delegation were received by Vice President of the Turkish Republic Fuad Oktay at the presidential complex. After holding bilateral talks and then holding a joint press conference.
In his statement, Fuat Oktay emphasized that he was pleased to host Dagalo and his delegation in Ankara, and noted that all aspects of Turkish-Sudanese relations were evaluated at the meetings, and confirmed that they agreed on the effective operation of existing cooperation mechanisms between the two countries. Dagalo conveyed his sincere gratitude to Oktay for his invitation and hospitality, saying that he had a fruitful meeting and saw this visit as the beginning of future visits. In addition, Dagalo thanked “the government and people of Turkey for their support on all platforms and for always standing by Sudan during the difficult times and crises the country is going through.”
Sudan suffers from unresolved crises regarding the border issue with Ethiopia over the al-Fashaga region, especially in filling and operating the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), in terms of which it has defended similar theses with Egypt in recent years. In this context, in the statement made by Oktay, it was emphasized that “it is sincerely desired that the current conflicts that pose a threat to peace and stability in the Horn of Africa region be resolved through dialogue and reconciliation”. In this context, Oktay stated that he is ready to mediate for the peaceful resolution of the conflict between Ethiopia and Sudan. Dagalo, on the other hand, touched on the border problem they had with Ethiopia and emphasized that they were trying to find solutions through dialogue and diplomatic means.
Economic relations between Turkey and Sudan have been on an increasing trend, especially in recent years. The trade volume between the two countries exceeded $398 million in 2019 and $481 million in 2020. In this context, Oktay emphasized that with the entry into force of the “Turkey-Sudan Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement” signed in 2018, all products that Sudan exports to Turkey will be opened through tariff discounts and quotas.
The Turkish Vice President emphasized Turkey’s desire for a vital Sudan, drawing attention to the decision of the US to remove Sudan from the list of State Sponsors of Terrorism (SST). In his speech, Dagalo emphasized that Sudan is a country that has opened up to the world in terms of capital and investments and stated that they want Turkey to play an important role in these investments. In addition, Dagalo said about the commercial agreements signed during the old regime, “we will review, modernize and update them now and continue with them.” In this regard, both leaders emphasized their “common interest”.
Relations between the two countries increasingly continue in the field of health. The Nyala Sudan-Turkey Training and Research Hospital in Darfur was built and currently operates with the support of Turkey, within the scope of the “Hospital Operation and Transfer Protocol” which both countries signed in 2007. On that note, Oktay pointed out that this hospital also plays an essential role in the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, Dagalo thanked Turkey and its people for their satisfaction with their health investments in Sudan.
As a result, the first official high-level visit from Sudan to Turkey since Omar al-Bashir’s removal from power, based on the statements of Oktay and Dagalo, suggests that the agreements signed during the Al-Bashir period will be developed and put into practice. Also, it is understood that Turkey will contribute to the solution of Sudan’s regional crises with its knowledge and experience, as well. From this point of view, bilateral relations seem to be maintained in a climate of friendship and brotherhood and a “win-win equation” in the upcoming period, as in the past.