President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has received the Letters of Credence from the new Ambassador of Turkey to Liberia, Her Excellency Penbe Nersrin Bayazit.
Ambassador Bayazit, on behalf of the Government and people of Turkey and personally on behalf of the President of Turkey, His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, expressed condolence and solidarity for the loses Liberia has sustained as a result of the Ebola virus disease.
“The suffering and the challenges caused by the Ebola virus in Liberia have saddened our President and the people of Turkey deeply.”
But she said they were also happy to observe that Liberia’s determined struggle with the epidemic has yielded such positive results.
The new Turkish Ambassador stressed the importance of Turkish-Liberia relations and cooperation and stressed that during her tenure she would ensure that the cooperation is enhanced in every possible field.
She highlighted the visit of Liberian Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan in May 2014, which took the bilateral relations to a new level.
Ambassador Bayazit admitted that the present level of bilateral trade between Turkey and Liberia does not reflect the potential of the two countries. She expressed her country’s willingness to cooperate with Liberia in every field including agriculture, health, education as well as the development of small and medium size enterprises and to share their experiences.
The new Turkish Envoy noted her country’s effort to provide assistance to Liberia and other Ebola afflicted countries both bilaterally and through the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the African Union.
“Moreover, in addition to short-term assistance, there is also a need for medium and long term plans to provide the necessary support to the national development of those countries suffering from the epidemic. Turkey will continue to emphasize this issue in all relevant international platforms, particularly in the G-20 whose term Presidency is currently held by Turkey,” she said.
During her mission as Ambassador accredited to Liberia, Ambassador Bayazit pledged to do her utmost to further expand the political and economic relations between Turkey and Liberia. “To achieve this goal I will be depending on the kind support of Your Excellency and Your esteemed Government,” she pointed out.
President Sirleaf, for her part, welcomed Ambassador Bayazit to Liberia and hoped that both countries can work together with a view to reactivating some of the understandings that have been reached.
The Liberian leader noted the several exchanges of high level visits between the two countries and touched on Agreements already consummated.
She hoped that with the arrival of the new Ambassador both countries can review where these Agreements stand, what needs to be done, and to see if the provisions of some of the Agreements can materialize.
President Sirleaf briefed the new Turkish envoy about the Government’s Vision 2030 and the five-year slice, Agenda for Transformation, which was well on its way when the Ebola virus disease struck and caused a major setback a result of which all the plans had to be placed on hold.
She touched on the concerted efforts of all Liberians joining together with the help of the international community, including Turkey, to fight the unseen enemy, Ebola. “We feel confident that with the capability and the experience we now have, we can contain this totally and Liberia can now begin a post-Ebola era.
However, the President highlighted the one new case that surfaced recently. “It’s well under control because we have the means now to respond in any way without endangering large numbers of our people so that we can get back on our development track,” the President said.
It may be recalled that following the "Liberia Partners Forum" held in Washington D.C. last February aimed at making a contribution to social and economic development of Liberia, Turkey sent a humanitarian aid of US$100,000 to Liberia through the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2007.
A Turkish police contingent of approximately 50 members, has been serving in the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), since 2003.
Scholarships are granted each year by the government of Turkey to the government of Liberia.
Upon an invitation from the Foreign Minister of Turkey, H.E. Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan led a six-member delegation to the Republic Turkey in May 2014.
Three Framework Agreements were consummated to enhance the bilateral relations between our two countries in the areas of Education, Reciprocal Visa Waiver for Holders of Diplomatic Passports and collaboration between the Diplomatic Institutes of Liberia and Turkey; discussions aimed at concluding a Memorandum of Understanding on Air Services Agreement between the Governments of Turkey and Liberia, initiated; and possible agreement in economic and technical cooperation and agreement on Avoidance of double taxation, and for the possible establishment of a Turkish-Liberian Business Council.
Among the areas of cooperation which have been achieved in recent years, President Sirleaf mentioned the Turkish International Cooperation Agency, which pledged to renovate a vocational school in critical need; Melih Gokcek, City Mayor of Ankara expressed willingness to establish sister-city relations with Monrovia; a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the donation of 20 buses and 2 playground equipment to the government of Liberia; and the Turkish Government’s agreement to increase Turkish scholarship slots for Liberians.