Niger needs Turkey’s counterterrorism experience, PM says

Niger needs Turkey’s experience and equipment support in its fight against terrorism, the West African country’s prime minister told Anadolu news agency.

Speaking on the sidelines of the third Turkey-Africa partnership summit in Istanbul last week, Prime Minister Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou praised the intense participation of some 40 African countries.

He said the rally was very “productive”, adding that everyone was very happy with the event.

Cooperation between Turkey and Niger, the prime minister said, is multidimensional.

The Nigerien office of the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) has implemented various projects in the fields of education, agriculture and health, he said, while the Foundation Turkish Maarif currently runs a school there.

He added that Turkish investors as well as institutions have recently started to invest in Niger.

Niamey airport was built by Turkish company Summa, he said, also citing the Niger-Turkey Friendship Hospital in the capital Niamey.

– Fight against terrorism

Mahamadou stressed that a project providing for cooperation with the Turkish government and companies in different fields is currently under discussion.

“Security, agriculture and industry are at the forefront of these areas of cooperation. There may also be a free zone opportunity for Turkish companies in the field of industry. If we wish to diversify the fields of cooperation, we continue our cooperation in the fields of education. , health and humanitarian aid, “he said.

Highlighting Turkey’s experience in the fight against terrorism, Mahamadou said his country needed Turkey’s experience in this area.

“In addition to sharing information and strategies, equipment support is also important. Turkey is far ahead of Niger in terms of military equipment, aviation and unmanned aerial vehicles. Turkey can contribute to Niger’s fight against terrorism in many areas, ”he stressed.

– Anti-French feeling

Referring to the growing anti-French sentiment in Niger, Mahamadou pointed out that behind this perception lie the fake news and the community’s sense of “revenge” against France during the colonial period.

“Today, with the widespread use of cell phones, fake news spreads very easily … I think the issue of fake news is effective in increasing anti-French sentiment. common history. Niger was a former French colony. At this point it is possible to say that they acted with a sense of revenge against the former colony, “he said.

The Prime Minister said that young people, on the other hand, do not realize how difficult it is to fight terrorism.

“They believed that as soon as the French military operation Barkhane arrived, the terrorism problem would be solved.”

France has maintained around 5,100 troops in West Africa as part of its Operation Barkhane with its headquarters in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad. The forces are being reduced, President Emmanuel Macron having announced in July the end of the operation by the beginning of 2022.

Its forces were mainly focused on combating armed groups in Burkina Faso, Chad and Niger.

“However, the fight against terrorism is both very complex and progressing slowly. Modern armies also have difficulties in the fight against terrorism, because the enemy does not use conventional weapons, does not respect the law of war, uses suicide bombers. The war drags on. on, but when there is no victory, anti-French sentiment also rises, ”said Mahamadou.

* Written by Jeyhun Aliyev in Ankara