Turkey deputy PM to Sudan's Darfur for 'biggest' aid project

Turkey's deputy prime minister is to visit Sudan's troubled Darfur region this week to open what is likely Ankara's largest-ever foreign aid project, the Turkish ambassador said Monday.

Ravaged by 11 years of government-rebel warfare along with inter-Arab violence that worsened last year, Darfur has a severe shortage of health workers, a lack of infrastructure, and food scarcity.

Deputy Prime Minister Emrullah Isler is to be accompanied on the Darfur visit by Health Minister Mehmet Muezzinoglu.

A $50-million research and training hospital will be formally inaugurated in Nyala, Sudan's second-largest city and the capital of South Darfur state, ambassador Cemalettin Aydin told AFP.

Ankara has allocated a further $58 million for running the hospital jointly with Sudan over the next five years before a planned handover to Sudanese management, he said.

The project is "maybe the biggest all over the world that Turkey has had in terms of development aid," Aydin said.

Isler is to arrive in Sudan late Wednesday ahead of the hospital's formal opening on Friday in Nyala, and will also hold talks with Sudanese officials, the ambassador said.