TUNIS – The presidents of Turkey and Tunisia joined on Wednesday in calling for efforts to cement economic and political relations between the two countries.
Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Beji Caid Essebsi at Carthage Palace on the last stop of an African tour that earlier took him to Chad and Sudan.
“This commitment is nourished by Turkey’s keenness to help Tunisia narrow its trade deficit,” Erdogan said, according to Tunisian official news agency TAP.
Erdogan said that he and Essebsi also discussed the threat posed to their respective countries by the return of Islamic State fighters, as well as military cooperation between Turkey and Tunisia.
Essebsi thanked Erdogan for his visit and hailed the opportunity to assess the regional situation and strengthen bilateral economic and trade ties.
The Turkish leader subsequently met with Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed and parliament speaker Mohamed Ennaceur.
Erdogan was accompanied to Tunis by a large delegation of Turkish businessmen and he joined them Wednesday for Tunisian-Turkish economic forum.
The visit sparked protests, notably by the National Union of Tunisian Journalists, which denounced Turkey as the world’s largest prison for journalists.