The State Visit to Turkey by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 signified a turning point in Nigeria-Turkey relations. Remarkably, the visit ended with the signing of the following agreements:
- Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA)
- Tourism Agreement
- Agreement on Higher Education
- Defence Cooperation Agreement
- MOU on Cooperation between the two Foreign Ministries.
Within the ambit of the MoU on Cooperation between the two Foreign Ministries, Nigeria introduced the 36+1 programme. In addition to training young Nigerian diplomats, the scheme would also help deepen friendship between diplomats from both countries. Accordingly, two Nigerian diplomats have been sent to study the Turkish language in Turkey.
Within the period also, Nigeria and Turkey invoked existing mutual arrangement for support for each other’s candidatures during elections to among others, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and other similar international organisations. As a demonstration of Nigeria’s active leadership role within the D8, the country has deployed an Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the Organisation’s Headquarters in Istanbul.
Nigeria continued to support Turkey’s consistent efforts in the maintenance of the strategic partnership with Africa. In December, 2011, the Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, led a Nigerian delegation to Istanbul, to participate in the 11th Session of the Partnership Ministerial Review Meeting. He used the opportunity to hold consultations on bilateral relations with top officials of the Turkish government, including the Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu.
During the visit, the two countries signed an agreement to abolish visas for holders of diplomatic and official passports- a significant initiative expected to facilitate official contacts between the two countries.
In the same vein, the Vice Present of Nigeria, His Excellency Arch. Namadi Sambo led Nigeria’s delegation to the June 2012 Istanbul conference on Somalia.
In the aftermath of the state visit by President Goodluck Jonathan, trade between Nigeria and Turkey have increased by 60% on the Nigerian side and 47% on the Turkish side. Nigeria exports include crude oil, gas, sesame seeds and cassava while Turkey’s export to Nigeria is largely composed of technical equipment.
Turkish has acquired 260 hectares of land from the FCT for the construction of its mass housing scheme and a Turkish Industrial zone. In addition, a total of 60 million dollars would be invested in the next few months to support the take-off of a bus assembly line. Other areas where steady progress is being made are the establishment of a Turkish University, other layer of schools and model agricultural projects.