The new Turkish ambassador to Nigeria, Mustafa Pulat who recently presented his letters of credence to President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja was in Lagos recently. He attended the Lagos Motor fair and Spare Parts Exhibition at the Federal Palace Hotel, Lagos. He spoke with Yemi Olakitan on Turkish business interests in Nigeria and many other issues. Excerpts:
- Question: Sir, Didn’t you have some apprehension in being posted to Nigeria, In view of the present security challenges in the country?
Every country has its own problems. Nigeria is not an exception. Turkey has problems. I am not new to Africa. I have served in Sudan and Germany but this is my first time in Nigeria as an ambassador and it is amazing. Nigeria is an interesting country, I have made a lot friends. I have met many Nigerians who are ready to partner with Turkey in businesses, manufacturing and other issues of trades. It is very interesting because Nigeria has enormous human and material resources. There is a lot of Turkish presence in Nigeria. We have 16 Turkish companies in this auto parts exhibition for example.
- What advice do you have for Nigeria on her security challenges?
Terrorism is a global phenomenon. Each country has to tackle it as best as it could. They all come down to one thing; providing adequate amenities for our citizens. The government must accede to the yearnings of the people and provide justice for all.
- What is the extent of Turkish business interest in Nigeria?
We have many business interests in Nigeria. We have established the Turkish international university in Abuja. We are working on the establishment of an Hospital in Abuja. Turkish business men are also building factories in Nigeria. I have a mandate to set up a consulate in Lagos that will take care of Turkish business interests in the southwest. The only challenge we face is the dearth of property in Lagos and that has been limiting us. We are going to establish a joint Nigeria-Turkish Commission to promote economic cooperation between the two countries
- It has been observed that there is a consular constraint in getting Nigerian business men to obtain visa to enter Turkey. How will you be able to address this problem?.
We are going to establish E-visa regime soonest so that Nigerians can apply for visa online. We have already started the programme already with few countries but Nigeria is not included yet, Now we will include Nigeria. We are not restricting Nigerians entry to Turkey.
- What is responsible for the delay in Turkish entry into the European Union?
We have almost fulfilled all the requirements. The delay seemed to be a blessing in disguise. If Turkey had been admitted during the present economic crisis rocking Europe, Turkey would been affected. We have no political issues with any European nation. The suspicion about our economic status has been removed by the delay. We are now poised to entering the EU since we have no problems with any European country..
- With Turkey as a pride to Islam. Is not limiting for Turkey to join EU since Turkey is a leading Islamic nation. One would think that Turkey will stand out and lead the developing countries?
The two scenarios are working together. Turkey will serve in both roles. We will join the European Union and we will also support the developing nations to fulfill their destinies. We are also a developing nation.
- What has become of the legacy of Bulent Ecevit?
He was a great Turkish Leader and reformer. His legacy is continuing. His party is now in power. His economic policies are still been pursued in Turkey. He gave Turkey rapid economic development. His policies attracted foreign companies into Turkey. Turkey has no car brand and we manufacture Toyota and many other brands. The people of Turkey are very demanding. If the politicians do not satisfy them. They will change the government.