Turkish President Abdullah Gül announced last Thursday the approval of a law
that opens the way for a military pact with Sudan, which would include training
and technological cooperation, according to a report in the Turkish paper
This follows a visit to Turkey by Sudan’s Defense Minister
Abdel-Rahim Mohamed Hussein in May 2011 to finalize the deal, which includes
provisions on the transfer of military technology between the two countries,
according to a report in Saturday’s Sudan Tribune.
And last month, the
Tribune reported on the strengthening relations between the countries
represented by a Turkish plan to train Sudan’s health professionals.
Republic of Sudan (North Sudan) is a Muslim Arab state, led by President Omar
al- Bashir, who came to power in a coup in 1989 and is wanted by the
International Criminal Court for war crimes in the country’s Darfur region.
Sudan has long been linked to radical Islamic movements and governments such as
Iran, Hamas, and al-Qaida, having hosted Osama bin Laden after he was expelled
from Saudi Arabia in 1991 until his expulsion in 1996.
There have also
been reports over the years of periodic Israeli bombings of arms factories or
storage facilities in the country that have been linked with Iran and alleged to
be for arming Hamas. The most recent bombing took place last October when Israel
reportedly attacked an arms factory established by Iran for the smuggling of
weapons to Hamas.
Sudan has historically had problems along its ethnic
fault lines, particularly in the south and in Darfur. South Sudan is
predominantly Christian and traditionalist while Darfur is inhabited by African
The south of the country broke away and declared independence
last July, creating the Republic of South Sudan.
Reports of increased
cooperation between Israel and South Sudan have picked up since the country won
independence and its president, Salva Kiir, visited Israel in 2011.
latest big news between the countries came in January, when South Sudan signed
an oil deal with Israeli companies.
The country is land-locked and
depends on the north for the export of its gas, so it is possible that a deal
with Israel could lead to a way to bypass its northern
Therefore, the move by Turkey to increase its alliance with
Sudan could be seen as a way to project its power in the region, countering
Iranian involvement in the country and boosting the country at the expense of
South Sudan, which is supported by Israel – a country that is at odds with
Turkey’s Islamist leadership.