President Muhammadu Buhari (LEFT) with the visiting Turkey President , Mr. Recef Tayyip Erdogan to the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Wednesday, Photo: GODWIN OMOIGUI

Tobi Soniyi in Abuja

Trade volume between Nigeria and Turkey is currently at $1.145 billion, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has disclosed.

Erdogan disclosed this at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja wednesday during a joint press conference with his host, President Muhammadu Buhari. Both leaders addressed State House correspondents after holding bilateral talks inside Buhari’s office.

The visiting Turkish president said that the result of the trade relation was in favour of Nigeria.

Erdogan‎ said: “Our total trade volume is currently at $1.145 billion. Our export is $314 million and our import is $831 million. As you see, the result is to
the favour of Nigeria.

“I believe that if the two countries combine forces, making use of our own respective resources, we would be able to come up with even better

“As we speak, our business people are connecting with their Nigerian counterparts.”

He pledged to encourage Turkish business men to invest in Nigeria, saying “Looking at the population of Nigeria and Turkey put together, we are talking about 260 million people, and this is a very important market”.

He also invited Nigerian businessmen to invest in Turkey, saying: “We are ready to expand all the sectors that we can to them; particularly Turkish construction contracting companies rank second in the world”.

Erdogan said his country was also ready to share its experiences with Nigeria, especially in the areas of irrigation and agriculture.

He described Nigeria as a regional and global actor as well as one of the Sub-saharan African countries that Turkey considered a strategic partner.

Erdogan extended an invitation to Buhari to visit Turkey.

At the press briefing Buhari said that his administration will not be deterred by the activities of the Boko Haram insurgency.
He said his government would maintain its focus on efforts towards providing security, developing the country and creating jobs for the youth.

Buhari noted that terrorism had become a global problem and thanked Turkey for identifying with Nigeria in her difficult times.

He specifically thanked the Turkish government for training the Nigerian Police on how to deal with terrorism.

Buhari said he and his visitor had earlier Wednesday signed Memoranda of Understanding on trade and economic cooperation as well as industrial cooperation, energy and security.

In his remarks, the Turkish president, who spoke through an interpreter, said that his country was ready to collaborate with Nigeria in the fight against terrorism.

“As a country combating terrorism for a long time now, every reprehensible attack that takes place here in Nigeria deeply hurts our heart. We are always ready to cooperate with Nigeria in combating terrorism”, he stated.

Erdogan condoled with Nigeria over terrorist attacks; the situation which, he noted, was the same all over the world.

The visiting Turkish president said what he, as a Muslim, had realised from activities of terrorists was that terrorism knew no religion or ethnicity.

He said Nigeria was a global actor in peace keeping, saying Turkey would maintain a strategic partnership with the government and people of Nigeria in the areas of trade, economy, military and culture.

He described the bilateral agreements signed as important instruments “that will help improve our relations even further”.

Buhari later hosted Erdogan to a lunch which was attended by Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, ministers, service chiefs and heads of other security agencies.

Earlier on his arrival at the Presidential Villa, Erdogan had been honoured with a grand presidential reception that featured military parade.

Erdogan is on tour of four African countries. Having visited Ivory Coast on Monday, Ghana on Tuesday, he was expected to leave Nigeria Wednesday for Guinea Thursday.