Turkey Provides Gambia with 10,000 Korans

From The Point (Banjul, Gambia):

The Turkish Embassy in Banjul Thursday handed over 10,000 Quranic copies to the Gambia Supreme Islamic Council (GSIC), at a ceremony held at the Council’s head office in Kanifing. Speaking at the ceremony, Ergin Soner, Turkish Ambassador, said he was very happy to be associated with such a prominent Islamic council.

He said both the Islamic Council in The Gambia and that of Turkey are the same, adding that the gesture would add on strengthening the relationship between The Gambia and Turkey. He said both countries are very much enjoying the political relationship they share as nations…

He thanked President Yahya Jammeh, who he said had long been in support of the council.

Actually, it’s more the case that the council has “long been in support”of the president  – a few years ago, the council bestowed the title of “Sheikh” on the dictator, and the body supports his continuing emphasis on opposing homosexuality (although the President of the council, Alhaji Momodou Lamin Touray, has generously opined that [reported speech] “Gambia has not yet reached a stage where capital punishment can be used on suspected gays and lesbians”). One opposition source reports “rumours” that the council has engaged in animal sacrifice on Jammeh’s behalf, “to appease the Djinns traditionally believed to be allied to the Darboe clan”.

A 2012 piece in the Gambia Echo judges that:

Yet since the coming into power of President Yaya Jammeh it has become overtly evident that Gambians do not fear God but fear the man – Jammeh. The statements, actions, denials, subterfuge from persons in leadership including religious leaders are a clear manifestation that Gambian leaders and the general public fear Jammeh more than they fear their Lord and Maker.

Turkey is also providing Gambia with USD1m in electronic goods, and plans to send 30 health professionals to the country. Jammeh visited Ankara in February; according to the Banjul Daily Observer, “Since The Gambia’s first foreign mission in Turkey opened in 2010 and a Turkish embassy opened in the capital, Banjul, in 2012, bilateral relations have improved significantly.”

One reason why Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip “Israeli Sperm” Erdogan wants closer ties with Jammeh is to reduce the influence of Fethullah Gülen’s Hizmet movement in Africa. Erdogan is rumoured to have asked Jammeh to shut down Hizmet schools in Gambia; and in April, Reuters reported:

Last month, parents of the Yavuz Selim school in Kanifing, Gambia, received a letter announcing its immediate closure… 

Gulen’s Hizmet movement cites this as an example of Turkish pressure on governments to shut down Gulen schools, a key source of its influence and revenue at home and abroad, and discourage Hizmet-linked commerce from banking to construction.

Turkish Islamic lender Bank Asya, which has extensive dealings with Hizmet companies in Africa, reported it had suffered mass deposit withdrawals, weeks after a power struggle between Erdogan and Gulen erupted in December.

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