Turkey on Thursday signed an agreement on educational cooperation with the West African country of Guinea-Bissau, including an agreement to close schools linked to a putschist terrorist group.
“I would like to thank Guinea-Bissau for its support in the fight against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization [FETO], and we welcome the closure of FETO-affiliated schools here,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, on day two of a three-nation West African tour, told a news conference.
Also hailing the signing of an agreement between Turkey’s Maarif Foundation and Guinea-Bissau, Cavusoglu stated the group will open new schools in the country, much like it has already opened 333 schools in 43 different countries, including 23 in Africa.
FETO, the terror group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, also has a network of schools abroad that it uses as cash cows.
Since the defeated coup, Turkey set up Maarif Foundation to transition former FETO schools to the responsible administration as well as open new schools.
Turning to the coronavirus outbreak, Cavusoglu said: “We show solidarity with Guinea-Bissau during the pandemic and today we also brought with us ventilators and N95 [face]masks.”
Cavusoglu also said they will be supporting the establishment of a diplomacy academy in Guinea-Bissau and that the Turkish Foreign Ministry Academy will offer online training programs to local diplomats.
On other pacts signed today, he said: “Those agreements will not only strengthen the legal basis of our bilateral cooperation and our ties but also help us to further enhance our bilateral cooperation in many many different areas.”
“We will continue encouraging our businesspeople to invest here in Guinea Bissau,” he added.
In Turkey, FETO and its US-based leader Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
On his West African tour, after visiting Mali on Wednesday and then Guinea-Bissau, Cavusoglu will proceed to Senegal.
Cavusoglu and his delegation will address political transition in the country as well as bilateral relations and regional and international matters, said a ministry statement.
Opportunities in transportation field
Also addressing the news conference, Suzi Carla Barbosa, foreign minister of the host country, called Turkey a “strategically important country” and said the agreements will improve both the relations and the support in particular from Turkish institutions.
Barbosa stated that the agreement signed in the field of transportation may pave the way for Turkish Airlines to operate in Guinea Bissau, which will provide employment opportunities with a very important development in transportation.
She noted that Turkey, in particular in the area of infrastructure, can support Guinea-Bissau and thanked Cavusoglu for his visit to Guinea Bissau and his solidarity during the coronavirus outbreak.
Barbosa stated that she welcomed the developing diplomatic relations between the two countries which will be carried out within the framework of the win-win principle.
Meanwhile, Cavusoglu was honored with a National Order by Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco during his visit.
“I will proudly carry the National Order awarded to me,” Turkey’s top diplomat said on Twitter.
Cavusoglu also said he met Guinea-Bissau Prime Minister Nuno Gomes Nabiam and the two discussed Mali, Libya and regional developments. The officials agreed to strengthen the countries’ cooperation in many fields including defense industry, energy, tourism, agriculture, and fishing.