Gambia-Turkey relations at its core

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The relationship between The Gambia seems to be at its core as the Gambian ambassador presents his letters of credence to the Turkish President His Excellency Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the presidential palace in Ankara, Turkey.

Kemeseng S.M. Jammeh, will now represent The Gambia as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary at a time when the country is trying to build its reputation in the international field.

In the international field, we say that there is no permanent friend or permanent enemy, but The Gambia over the past 22 years has proven to be acting like a diplomatic prostitute – making friends and enemies alike. The Gambia and Turkey have shared common ties and interests, from religion to military ties.

The Gambia tops the list of Sub-Saharan countries with which Turkey maintains good relations in the military domain. Military relations of special nature, which were built upon the deployment of Turkish Gendarmerie Training Team in Banjul from 1991 to 2005 and the subsequent establishment of Military Advisory Mechanism, has strengthened the friendship and fraternity ties between the two countries.

Ambassador Jammeh conveyed the greetings and best wishes from His Excellency President Adama Barrow, the government and people of The Gambia, while congratulating the government of Turkey for its valuable contribution to Turkey-Gambia relations.

The bilateral relations, which were initially advanced through exclusively in military domain as well as at the international fora such as the United Nations (UN) and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), have become more comprehensive and multifaceted after the opening of both countries’ Embassies in Banjul and Ankara in 2011.

As such, bilateral high level visits have substantially increased. In this context, upon the invitation of the then-President H.E. Abdullah Gül, former Gambian President H.E. Yahya  Jammeh paid a state visit to Turkey on 10-11 February 2014. After this visit, he also attended the 13th OIC Summit in Istanbul which was hosted by Turkey on 14-15 April 2016.

In February 2017, The Point reported that Turkey’s ambassador to The Gambia, Ismail Sefa Yuceer, has said his country has a longstanding relationship with The Gambia, and they will continue to strengthen the relations under President Barrow government.

“We are very determined to improve our relationship in every aspect, especially in the area of projects, which would go a long way in helping the socio-economic development of the two nations.”

Ambassador Yuceer recalled that the president of Turkey sent a message to then president-elect Barrow, shortly after the declaration of results of the December 1st polls.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in that message that the will of the Gambian people must be respected, which the ambassador re-emphasised as “very important”.

On the basis of friendly and fraternal relations existing between Turkey and the Gambia, 22 bilateral Agreements, Protocols and Memorandums of Understanding have already been signed, 13 of them have come into force while the ratification processes of the remaining 9 is still ongoing.

“Most good relationships are built on mutual trust and respect.”

Mona Sutphen