The government of Turkey said on Friday that Turkish Airlines would commence scheduled flights into the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu in March 2015.
The Turkish ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Mustafa Pulat, made the announcement in Abuja when he paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Aminu Wali.
Pulat said that direct Turkish airlines flights into more cities in Africa were part of a renewed commitment to strengthening Turkey-Africa strategic partnership.
He used the occasion to invite Nigeria to participate in the second meeting of the Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit, scheduled to hold in Malabo from Nov. 19 to Nov. 21.
“Our president, foreign minister and minister for the economy are going to Malabo and we are doing this with the AU, which has promised to invite African countries, including Nigeria.’’
He said that Turkey was willing to contribute its quota to Africa’s development through strategic partnership.
According to statistics from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, trade volume between Turkey and Africa has increased more than tenfold in 13 years.
The statistics indicated that trade reached $7.5 billion in 2013, up from $742 million in 2000.
The envoy also extended his country’s invitation to Nigeria to participate in the upcoming meeting of the Committee of Social and Economic Cooperation in Istanbul later in November.
The committee is a subsidiary of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
The ambassador also solicited Nigeria’s support for Turkey’s hosting of the 10th conference of the World Trade Organisation, scheduled to hold in 2015.
He expressed delight at the cordial economic and trade relations between both countries.
Pulat, however, called for the conclusion of negotiations and signing of the Promotion and Protection of Investments Agreement between both countries to boost trade ties.
The envoy said the agreement on double taxation was still pending and acknowledged that his mission had received a new draft from the Nigerian side.
He told Wali that Istanbul was currently considering the draft of the agreement.
According to him, several Turkish companies are willing to invest in the energy, aviation and housing sectors in Nigeria.
Pulat commended Nigeria for containing the spread of Ebola but expressed surprise that his country was mentioned as one of the countries that were discriminating against travellers from Nigeria.
He said there were few isolated cases when travellers from Nigeria were subjected to medical examination over concerns for symptoms of the Ebola virus disease.
Wali thanked the Turkish Government for extending its national carrier to Kano, his home town and for opening more routes in Nigeria.
He pledged that the ministry would continue to encourage the signing of more Bilateral Air Services Agreement as a springboard to encouraging more direct investment into Nigeria.
The minister acknowledged that Turkish investments in Nigeria were visible in the tourism, power, education and health sectors, among others.
He pledged Nigeria’s support to Turkey’s hosting of the WTO conference and assured the ambassador of Nigeria’s participation in the event.
Wali also welcomed Turkey’s offer of defence and military cooperation with Nigeria in the fight against terror and insurgency. (NAN)