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The Diplomacy Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey organized a seminar on Diplomacy for seven senior diplomats of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Sierra Leone. The delegation was headed by Mr Prince Emmanuel Oldman Cole, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFIAC).

The seminar was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara, started on Monday 17th and ended on Saturday 22nd January 2022.  Global and Regional Framework of the Turkish Foreign Policy, Diplomacy and Post Covid-19 period, Turkish foreign policy towards West Africa and the bilateral relations with Sierra Leone were among the agenda items deliberated during the session. 

                                    Mr Prince E.O. Cole, Director-General MOFAIC

On Tuesday, 18 January 2022, the DG, Mr Prince E.O. Cole, his delegation, the Defence and Financial Attachés to Turkey, Colonel Muhammed Musa Hashim and Ms Doris M Bundu attended the Turkey-Sierra Leone Bilateral Political Consultation Meeting held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara. It was a well-thought-out meeting which carefully looked at different areas where to expand mutual relationships and deepen foreign ties.

 The meeting was chaired by Ambassador Nur Sagman, the Turkish Director-General for Africa. In her welcome address, the Director-General briefly talked about Turkey’s unique geographical location bounded by the sea and a number of other countries. She explained that Turkey is a country located mainly in Anatolia in Western Asia, with a portion spreading into the Balkans in Southeast Europe. Turkey forms the vast majority of the nation's population, and Kurds are the largest minority. Ankara is Turkey's capital, while Istanbul is its largest city and financial centre.

          Mr Prince E.O. Cole, Director-General MOFAIC (L) and Ambassador Nur Sağman (R)

On Foreign Policy, Ambassador Nur Sagman said Turkey is a Muslim-dominated country with a western foreign policy. Turkey also uses her vast Global Diplomatic network, which happens to be the fifth most extensive, consisting of two hundred and forty-five (245) diplomatic and consular missions. She pointed out that Turkey has an Embassy in Sierra Leone, which started operations since February 2018, and Sierra Leone opened an Embassy in Turkey in January 2020.

She said Projects on infrastructure are undertaken by a Turkish company which is working to expand the Terminal at the Freetown International Airport in Lungi. She said there is an ongoing dialogue on the commencement of the construction of the Lungi Bridge. She also revealed that there is a plan to construct a Turkish Embassy in Freetown that would showcase the outstanding Turkish architectural skills in the form of a magnificent Chancery.

Speaking on education, Director Nur Sagman pointed out that in 1998 only seventy-two (72) Sierra Leonean students were in Turkey now, there is a far larger pool of students pursuing undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Turkish Universities. This has led to an increase in scholarship support for fifteen (15) students annually pursuing PhD Degrees. This may be increased further. She said agreements on Protocol and Science and Higher education had been signed awaiting ratifications, and a strong relations on energy provision was established in 2021.

On Defence relations, Director Nur Sagman talked about the possibility of exploring further agreements on training as there is a draft agreement on a Military framework that has existed since 2014 but is yet to be signed by the Sierra Leone Government and the Ministry of Defence.

Prince E.O. Cole, Director General of MoFAIC, in his response, said the Republic of Sierra Leone is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa. It shares borders with Liberia to the southeast and Guinea to the north. He said Sierra Leone has a population of 7,092,113 as of the 2015 census. The largest city is Freetown, and it is the capital city of Sierra Leone. He said the country is divided into five administrative regions, which are subdivided into sixteen districts.

The DG affirmed that Sierra Leone maintains strong relations with many Western nations. It also maintains healthy diplomatic relations with the former Soviet Bloc countries as well as with the People's Republic of China. Sierra Leone has relations with at least 133 sovereign countries as of November 2021. The government maintains Twenty-One (21) Embassies and High Commissions around the world.

The Director-General MOFAIC ended by expressing his satisfaction with the current state of Affairs and expressed great hope in future progressive ventures between the two countries. The Director-General also pointed out that an Economic and Trade Cooperation has been ratified between Sierra Leone and Turkey.


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