Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

Cameroon: Growing, Fruitful Cooperation

Areas of cooperation between Cameroon and Turkey have been on the increase in recent years.

Relations and cooperation between Cameroon and the Republic of Turkey have been growing steadily in recent years. Perhaps the high point of such cooperation was the opening of the Turkish Embassy in Yaounde in 2010 and the state visit by President Abdullah Gül to Cameroon from March 16-17, 2010 - the first ever by a Turkish leader.

Since then, at least 10 mutual visits at the ministerial level have been paid. Agreements signed during the visit by Presidents Gaal and Paul Biya included one that lifts visa requirements and a protocol on technical, scientific and economic cooperation in agriculture. According to the website of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey, President Gaal also attended a Turkey-Cameroon Business Forum, declaring afterwards that Turkey would continue its technical and humanitarian aid to Africa. He advocated joint business ventures, investments, transfer of technology and information as the best way to help each other, adding that Turkey intends to increase its embassies in Africa from 18 to 25.

President Gül declared that Cameroon, which has rich natural resources both above and below ground, reflects all the variety of the African continent. "We attach great importance to having close cooperation with Cameroon," said the President. Turkey, suggested President Gül, could invest in Cameroon in such fields as construction, mining, health and education. He also said that Turkey could share its knowledge and experience in agriculture with Cameroon.

Last August, the Agreement on Encouragement and Protection of Mutual Investments was signed during the visit to Turkey by the Minister of External Relations, Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo. During another visit to Turkey last September led by Parliament Speaker, Cavaye Yeguie Djibril, President Gül stated that cooperation between the two Parliaments will diversify the bilateral relations Turkey and Cameroon enjoy, referring to the Turkey-Cameroon Inter-Parliamentary Friendship Group established some time ago. He further reiterated his invitation for President Biya to pay a return visit to Turkey and expressed the wish for Cameroon to open an embassy in Ankara, the Presidency website said.

Cavaye Yeguie Djibril, conveying President Biya's best wishes to President Gül, pointed to the considerable development in Turkish-Cameroon relations, especially after the 2010 official visit by President Gül to Cameroon. He expressed joy at the start, next month, of direct flights by Turkish Airlines between Turkey and Cameroon. According to the web site, Hon. Cavaye informed President Gül that Cameroon will appoint an Ambassador to Ankara this year.

Last November 1, the Turkish Ambassador to Cameroon, Ömer Faruk Dogan, handed over the newly rehabilitated Centre for Children in Distress in Yaounde that was refurbished by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, TIKA. The centre has a capacity of 40 children and currently hosts 26.

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