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Five Years Of Increasing Turkish Presence

On the eve of the departure of outgoing Turkish Ambassador, H.E. Ömer Faruk Dogan, Cameroonians reminisce over strengthened bilateral relations.

The Republic of Turkey is today the world’s 18th largest economy that is increasingly rising in geostrategic importance in Europe-Asian relations. Turkey has chosen Cameroon as its springboard for promoting investments in Central Africa and channelling imports through its internal markets. At the end of the mandate of the Turkish Ambassador to Cameroon, H.E. Ömer Faruk Dogan, Cameroon-Turkish relations are held to be growing from strength to strength.

Commitment By Heads of State

In April 2015, President Paul Biya promulgated a law adopted by Parliament authorising him to ratify a security cooperation agreement between Turkey and Cameroon. The agreement, which was signed on June 19, 2014 in Ankara, Turkey, aims at ensuring collaboration in the fight against terrorism, crime wave, organised transnational crime as well as the illicit production and trafficking of drugs, amongst others.

The agreement was one of the fallouts of President Paul Biya’s March 2013 State visit to Turkey where seven cooperation agreements were signed in areas such as the economy, tourism, mining, energy, hydrocarbons, communication and diplomacy. The visit was within the framework of relations which had been kick-started earlier in March 2010 by the landmark two-day visit to Cameroon of the then Turkish President, Abdullah Gül.

Accelerated Economic Relations

President Abdullah Gül had set the pace rolling in March 2010 when his accompanying delegation comprising over 120 Turkish businessmen held an economic forum on March 16, 2010 with their Cameroonian counterparts. On June 18, 2013, an economic forum between Cameroonian and Turkish businessmen, which held in Douala, disclosed that trade between both countries was already worth FCFA 75 billion.

Turkish exports to Cameroon amounted to FCFA 50 billion, while Cameroon exported goods worth FCFA 25 billion to Turkey. Both countries hoped to reach FCFA 250 billion by 2015. On September 23, 2014, a 20-strong team led by the Turkish Minister Delegate of the Economy, Adna Yildrin, met Cameroon’s Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Emmanuel Nganou Djoumessi. The pace was therefore set for Turkish investments in Cameroon.  

Boosting Infrastructure

After meeting the Minister of Trade on March 17, 2014, the Vice-President of the Chamber of Commerce of Istanbul, Dorsun Topçu, and Turkish Ambassador to Cameroon, Ömer Faruk Dogan, announced the opening of a 6,000-square-metre exhibition centre in the Mvan neighbourhood of Yaounde. From 11th to 15th May, 2015, the facility effectively hosted a Forum of Turkish Enterprises, involving nine large-scale firms involved in construction. A firm demonstration of this commitment lies in the opening of the 600,000-tonne MEDCAM cement factory in Douala by the Turkish firm, Eren Holdings.

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