Turkey renovating historic Ottoman-era city in Sudan

Turkey’s state-run aid agency has started to renovate a historic port city in Sudan, a Horn of Africa nation the Turkish president visited last year, the agency said on Tuesday.

Thirty architects and experts in ground drilling, urban planning, geology and geophysical exploration, maps, and restoration have just started to work on Suakin island, in northeastern Sudan, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) said in a statement.

With their joint project, Sudan and Turkey aim to turn the island -- which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited in December -- into a culture and tourism center.

The island’s Ottoman-era Hanafi and Shafi’i mosques, and an old customs building, will be restored by the agency, said the statement.

Suakin, one of the oldest seaports in Africa, used to be used by African Muslims on pilgrimages to Saudi Arabia.

Ottomans used the port city to secure the Hejaz province -- present-day western Saudi Arabia -- from attackers using the Red Sea front.