From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja

Senate Chief Whip and former Governor of Abia State, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, yesterday, told the Republic of Turkey Ambassador-Designate to Nigeria, Hidayet Bayraktar, that Nigeria is eager to deepen ties with Turkey.

This was even as Kalu called on the Republic of Turkey to assist Nigeria in the fight against insurgency in the country.

Kalu, while speaking during a visit to the Turkish Ambassador in Abuja, specifically said Nigerians are interested in deepening economic, cultural and educational ties with Turkey, which will in turn, see the two countries playing a bigger role in global affairs.

Kalu said there were so many similarities between Turkey and Nigeria, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari and the President of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, enjoyed cordial relationship as they were very good friends.

“And we want to deepen that relationship. You remember that the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, I met him and we have been in touch ever since we became friends.

“We are eager to deepen the relationship between Turkish business people, cultural activities and the academia so that Turkey and Nigeria will have a big role to play in the world,” Kalu said.

Kalu, while thanking the Turkish envoy for the opportunity to welcome him into the country, asked Bayraktar to extend his warm wishes to his spouse and staff of the Embassy of Turkey.

“We are very grateful that you gave us this opportunity to meet with you. You are welcome to Nigeria. We are hoping that by the time you present your letter of credence to President Muhammadu Buhari, you will be free to see how large Nigeria is,” Kalu added.

Kalu further told the Turkish envoy that most things people write about Nigeria were not true, noting that there were good and bad people everywhere.

“We are 200 million people and above. If only two per cent are bad people, then we have a lot of numbers of good people. So, you can see that nobody can blame us.

“Our President has done so much to deepen democracy; he has done so much to deepen infrastructure and we are grappling with insurgency, insecurity.

“So, I call on you to also see a strategy, how your government can come to our aid. We are looking at everywhere anybody can help us to fight insurgency.

“In my opinion, this insurgency is looking like sabotage, that people are sabotaging the presidency of President Muhammadu Buhari. If anybody can sabotage his country because of politics, then it is a shame that people can be doing things like this.

“I believe that your coming to Nigeria will further expand the bilateral relationship between Nigeria and Turkey. We think this relationship of going into agriculture, commerce, industry, into new ideas such as ICT, telecommunication and so forth, is a right step in the right direction,” Kalu further said.

Kalu who did not hide his admiration for Erdoğan during the visit, eulogised the Turkish president whom he said, has done so much for Turkey by taking the country to a better height since he became president.

Responding, Bayraktar thanked Senator Kalu for coming to the Embassy and expressed delight in having the opportunity to meet him.

The Turkish envoy stated that as Kalu mentioned, Nigeria and Turkey were two important countries, saying that while Nigeria played a very important role in Africa and as the biggest economy in Africa, there were a lot of potential between Nigeria and Turkey.

Bayraktar added that the potential was not only on the political side, but also economically, military, and security.

“My aim is to boost these relations as much as possible with the cooperation of Senator Kalu and his colleagues,” Bayraktar said.