Vila Times

Former president of Vanuatu seeking cooperation with Turkey

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Vanuatu is seeking opportunities for more cooperation with Turkey, primarily in the fields of the economy, education, and culture.

That is according to Ati Sokomanu, Vanuatu’s former president who made these remarks in an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency in Istanbul. Sokomanu was in Turkey for last week’s summit of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya.

Sokomanu said Turkey can help his country a great deal in social development and education.

“Economically and politically, Turkey is a very big country, it has also an ocean but not like we have in the Pacific,” he said.

Diplomatic ties between Turkey and Vanuatu accelerated in 2013 with the opening of Vanuatu’s Honorary Consulate in Istanbul. Since then, the two countries have cooperated in many areas, especially in education and culture. Vanuatu also has diplomatic missions in China, the U.S., Belgium, Australia, and New Zealand.

Referring to a program launched in 2014 enabling a number of young people from Vanuatu to study in Turkish universities in Istanbul, the capital Ankara, and Izmir, Sokomanu said it is a big chance for the country’s young population to be educated in Turkey.

“We thank the government of Turkey for giving us this opportunity. People will be educated and they will know each other more in their own traditional way of living. We learn your way of doing things and you learn our way of doing things,” he said.

Sokomanu, the current head of Vanuatu’s Red Cross, said his island’s Red Cross Society wants to build a close relationship with Turkey as a potential partner in the Middle East.