By: Asma Al-Mohattwari
In a whirlwind two-day tour of Sana’a, Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey’s Foreign Minister, held talks with top Yemeni government officials, revisited the two countries’ shared history, oversaw the opening of a school and helped lay a framework for future business relationships between Turkey and Yemen.
Davutoğlu met with President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the two discussed recent political developments in Yemen, with a particular focus on the nation’s ongoing political settlement process.
Hadi spoke about Yemen and Turkey’ historical and close relationship, and also expressed his appreciation for the Turkish Foreign Minister’s statements. For his part, Davutoğlu confirmed that Turkey stands ready to provide political, economic and security assistance to Yemen.
Prime Minister Mohammed Basindowa received Davutoğlu and an accompanying delegation of businessmen. The meeting centered on a discussion of ways to expand bilateral cooperation between the two countries, and on investment in particular.
The Turkish Foreign Minister noted his country’s intention to establish an industrial area in Al-Hodeida. Also, Davutoğlu mentioned that they his country had a willingness to build a fully-equipped university in Sana’a.
“Every dollar of investment in Yemen comes back with Interest for both Yemen and Turkey; the progress and success of Yemen is the success and progress of Turkey,” he said.
Davutoğlu stated that ongoing transformations in Yemen require positive support from influential countries both inside and outside the region.
The Turkish Foreign Minister said his country had pledged $100 million to Yemen and that consultations were ongoing on how to use the amount in joint projects to reduce unemployment in Yemen.
On the second day of his stay in Yemen, Davutoğlu placed a wreath of flowers at the Turkish Martyrs Memorial in Sana’a.
After visiting the Turkish Martyrs Memorial, Davutoğlu, along with Capital Secretariat Abdulqader Hilal went on to attend a ceremony for the opening of the Turkish International School.
The Turkish International School was inaugurated by Prime Minister Basindowa and Davutoğlu.
The ceremony was attended by Minister of Education Abdulrazaq Al-Ashwal, Sana’a Governor Jameel Abdul-Ghani, Hilal, and a number of other important Turkish and Yemeni political and business figures.
The TIS began its activities in Yemen in 1998 and currently has branches in Sana’a, Taiz and Aden, as well as a ‘Kids Academy’ in Sana’a.
The new campus, situated in Sana’a’s ‘Asr area, was built on a 25,000 square meter plot of land and has a junior section and separate female and male sections for seniors.
Davutoğlu expressed warm feelings towards Yemen, and said, “It’s a great honor to open the school in Sana’a following the crises that Yemen passed through in recent times.”
Davutoğlu delivered specific messages to businessmen, educational staff, and parents and students, and thanked them all for their part in strengthening relations between Turkey and Yemen.
After students sang both countries’ national anthems, Davutoğlu said, “The students’ performance of the Yemeni and Turkish national anthems gives an indication of strong relations between the two countries in the future,” said Davutoğlu. Pointing out that Yemen would pass his ordeal and would go to a better future with these teachers and future generations.
For his part, Prime Minister Basindowa said that Turkey and Yemen have strong relations now, but that they had them in the past. He said he had received very good treatment when he had visited Turkey.
“The Turkish International School is the only school which uses the ‘Smart Board’ [an interactive whiteboard used in classrooms] in Yemen, and I wish all Yemeni schools would follow suit,” he said.
Minister of Education Abdulrazaq Al-ashwal delivered a speech in which he explained that the Turkish schools and over 14 years in Yemen proved excellence in education and leadership in educational activities.
Al-ashwal confirmed that the future ambitions in building generations of knowledge requires to get benefit of Turkey and its contemporary renaissance to retrace the fragrant history and heritage which embraced Yemen and Turkey relations.
The General Manager of the Turkish International School Mhemet Yilmaz said that although the difficult circumstances experienced by Yemen the schools didn’t stop and construction continued this demonstrates the strong relations of the two countries.
At the end of the ceremony Turkish International School honored Prime Minister Basindwa, Education Abdulrazaq Al-ashwal, Sana’a Governor Jameel Abdul-Ghani, Capital Secretariat Abdul-Qader Hilal and Turkish foreign Minister Prof. Dr. Ahmet Davutoğlu.
Following the school’s inauguration ceremony, attendees were invited to a ceremony to celebrate the opening of a Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA).
The TIKA office will be responsible for handling Turkish development aid to Yemen, and will oversee efforts in Yemen’s education, health and transportation fields.