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Turkey says Sudan did not cancel Suakin deal

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and President Omer al-Bashir, exchange cooperation agreement between the two countries in Khartoum on 24 Dec 2017 (SUNA Photo)

April 26, 2019 (KHARTOUM) - Turkish government has denied reports that the Transitional Military Council has cancelled an agreement with Ankara to restore Ottoman-era artefacts on Sudan’s Red Sea coast island of Suakin.

The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) is continuing to restore Ottoman-era artefacts on Sudan’s eastern coast, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy, according to the Turkish news agency Anadolu on Friday.

He stressed that press reports about the cancellation of the deal and the expulsion of Turkish worker from Suakin were not accurate.

On 20-21 April, several Arab and Turkish newspapers reported that Sudan had decided to revoke a deal sealed with the Turkish government in December 2017.

At the time, the deal had been criticized amid reports claimed that Turkey would establish a military naval base in the strategic Island.

But Ankara said the deal, which was signed following a visit to the ruined port by President Tayyip Erdogan, provides to transform the area into a culture and tourism centre.

Located on the west coast of the Red Sea, the island is only 261 nautical miles away from Jeddah, the second largest city in Saudi Arabia.

Until the 19th century, Suakin was the residential address of the Ottoman Empire’s Habesh Eyalet, which encompasses today’s Eritrea, Djibouti and northern Somalia.

(ST)

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