According to reports, the Ambassador of Turkey to Nigeria, His Excellency, Mr Hakan Cakil has said his country has no reason to engage in espionage in Nigeria, a country it considers one of its strategic partners on the African continent.
In a statement to Newmen yesterday, he said that Turkey attaches huge importance to its bilateral relations with Nigeria and would, therefore, not carry out any activities that are capable of jeopardising the relationship.
The ambassador who was reacting to media reports that his country (Turkey) was in the process of setting up a non-governmental organisation by the name, Maarif Foundation, in Nigeria for the purpose of carrying out espionage activities, dismissed the allegations in the report as “baseless, fabricated and hostile towards the Government of Turkey.”
The Centre for Qur’anic Reciters Nigeria had in a statement alleged that beyond its declared mission, the incorporation of the Ma’arif Foundation in Nigeria was targeted at taking over foreign investments of Turkish nationals that the government of Turkey politically disagrees with, pointing out that though it may appear harmless on the surface, with the stated intention of granting scholarships to Muslims from poor homes to gain acceptance, its real intentions were beyond that.
But Ambassador Cakil said “It is out of question for the Government of Turkey or any Turkish officials in this Embassy to engage (in) espionage or any other activities against Nigeria or Nigerian people.”
He further condemned attempts to brand President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a dictator, describing him as the most popular Turkish politician in the recent political history of Turkey.
Cakil explained that contrary to what sponsors of such reports may want the people of Nigeria to believe, President Erdogan is very popular in his country and his victory at elections was proof of his soaring popularity.
“Let me bring this to your attention, His Excellency President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won all the elections with vast majority of the electorate since he engaged in politics in Turkey.”
“He is the most popular Turkish politician in the recent political history of Turkey,” the ambassador emphasised.
He accused the Hizmet Movement otherwise known as FETO for being behind such attacks on “the legitimate President and the Government of Turkey.”
“FETO or Hizmet… they staged an unsuccessful coup attempt in Turkey which left 249 of its citizens dead and seriously wounded more than 2000 of them,” Cakil added.