Turkey and the West African nation of Benin have entered into a security cooperation agreement that includes intelligence sharing of operational information and technical and tactical methods in combatting terrorism and crime.
In the text of the agreement, obtained by Nordic Monitor, the two countries pledge to cooperate in fighting transnational crime, in particular crimes related to terrorism, organized crime, smuggling of migrants, trafficking of human beings, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances and their precursors.
The 10-article agreement was submitted to parliament for ratification on June 25, 2019 by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has often been criticized by his opponents for abusing criminal and terrorism investigations in order to prosecute critics, dissidents and opponents on dubious charges of terrorism.
“The Parties shall take efficient measures for preventing the preparation and perpetration of terrorist acts within their territories, against the citizens and the security of the other Party,” Article 2 states, adding that “the cooperation in combating terrorism shall cover especially cooperation in information, intelligence and assessment sharing as well as operational cooperation regarding the terrorist organizations and their action methods, terrorist acts, financing of terrorism, which are affecting the security of the Parties, and the technical and tactical methods used in combating terrorism.”
Erdoğan’s letter submitted to parliament seeking approval of the agreement with Benin:erdogan_Benin
The agreement gives rise to serious concerns of possible prosecutions of critics who live in Benin or use the West African nation as transit point during their travels given the track record of exploitation of terrorism and criminal charges by the Erdoğan government. In the last three years alone the Erdoğan government has detained over half a million people including hundreds of journalists, human rights defenders, teachers, judges, doctors and academics. They were accused of affiliation with the Gülen movement, a major critic of the Turkish president on pervasive corruption in the government and the Islamist government’s aiding and abetting of armed jihadist groups in Syria and Libya.
The two countries have also committed themselves to preventing activities of visual and written media organs of terrorist organizations and their front institutions operating in their territories against the other party. “The Parties shall consider them as illegal organizations and shall take appropriate measures in this regard according to their national legislations,” the agreement notes. Turkey has been the leading jailer of the journalists in recent years in the world with a record number of 183 journalists behind bars according to monitoring group the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF). They were all accused of terrorism or association with terrorist groups.
According to the agreement, both countries will develop and implement efficient combating measures regarding the persons and institutions providing financial or other support including sheltering, accommodation, training and treatment and logistic support to the terrorist organizations in their territories. They will exchange information and experience regarding weapons, equipment and technical installation used in combating terrorism.
The agreement allows both sides to appoint liaison officers in order to increase the efficiency of interaction and coordination of joint actions. Turkey will also offer training programs and opportunities to study in postgraduate and doctoral programs in coordination with academic institutions run by the Turkish police, gendarmerie and coast guard.
Th terms of the agreement will be executed by the Ministry of the Interior on the Turkish side and the Ministry of Interior and Public Security for Benin. The deal has no expiry date and is considered to be valid for an indefinite period of time. However, either party may notify the other side at any time to terminate the agreement.
The agreement was signed on December 6, 2016 in Ankara by Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Beninese Foreign Minister Aurélien Agbenonci.
The 7-page security agreement is posted below:Turkey_Benin_agreement