(Anadolu) A local Sudanese governor has praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit last year to the former Ottoman port city of Suakin in northeastern Sudan, saying it "revitalized" the island now in ruins.
"The [Suakin] island has returned to life after President Erdogan’s visit," Ali Ahmad Hamid, the governor of the Red Sea Province in eastern Sudan, told Anadolu Agency in Turkish capital Ankara on Friday.
The Turkish president had visited the Suakin island on the west coast of the Red Sea on Dec. 25, 2017, as part of his two-day official visit in the northern African nation. The city was under Ottoman rule between 1555 and 1865.
Hamid said President Erdogan's visit to the island made a huge impact on the people living in the island.
"The island has been revitalized. We know that there was migration from Suakin Island 100 years ago. Now, the island has returned to life with Turkey-Sudan joint projects and investments, supported by TIKA," he said referring to the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, Turkey's main foreign aid and development body.
In a bid to transform the island into a cultural and tourism hub, TIKA had restored Suakin's 200-year-old Markaz (central) Administration building, Hamid said, adding that the reconstruction of the Customs Area in the ancient heart of the island was about to be completed.
Hamid also praised Turkey for renovating the Ottoman-era Hanafi and Shafi’i mosques.
He said the redevelopment project also included the opening of new museums, markets places, and recreational areas.
"We know that TIKA is working for the people of Sudan. It has made great contributions to the people of Sudan in all areas,” he said, adding that the Turkish agency was operating a hospital there as well.
Suakin, one of the oldest seaports in Africa, was used by African Muslims who set out for a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
The Ottomans used the port city to secure Hejaz province -- present-day western Saudi Arabia -- from attackers in the Red Sea.
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