1
Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Foreign Affairs: http://www.mfa.gov.tr/turkey-africa-relations.en.mfa

Turkey current
relation with Africa is strong because of the outstanding historical background
that can be dated back from the ottoman period and even before that, there are
evidence to support the claim that the ottoman sultan hinder the further
spreading of slave trade in both East Africa and West Africa. Looking back at
this critical moment Africa was in and the role that Turkey played to save
Africa, we can only be certain that the relation between the two is only going
to be stronger and stronger. Infrastructure, water system, roads, madrasa, and
mosque were all the benefits of ottoman present in Africa that till now exist,
the good thing about their existence in Africa is that, there is no similarity
in culture between the state and the continent, almost when you look at any
colony that was colonized by a state, you can detect some similarity, might be
in culture, language. But Turkey did not impose the culture onto the local
people. And that is why Africa and Turkey are compatible together. In the lands
where it was once present, the Ottoman Empire has built the infrastructure,
water systems, bridges, madrasahs, mosques, and hamams for the benefit of local
peoples. It has not imposed its own culture on the local populations.1

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Historical Background

 

One general question somebody might ask regarding
Turkey interest in Africa is “what is turkey doing in Africa”? It
sound general but also similar questions were raised by columnist in their
efforts to criticize foreign policy towards Africa. The questions asked are
normally because of biased media reporting biased headlines for their own
agenda, a good example is when Turkish president Erdogan visited Somalia and
the report on newspaper were asking and criticizing the president for his acts
of increasing relations with Africa, illiteracy among the people who see no
advantage in developing foreign relations with other countries. On the other
hand the answer is quite simple, Turkey wants to develop and increase relations
with others countries as part of improving their foreign policy especially in
areas which were neglected before, including Africa, on the other hand Africa
is a growing continent with natural resources and human labor. This issues will
be discuss in details in the following sections.

It is fairly important to mention that the turning
point and the rising of the economic activities in Africa and the interest in
general was active after the Justice and Development party (AKP) came to power.
Turkey’s engagement in Africa covers all of the aspect of life. It’s an act
that needs to be recognized and emphasized, and also example to be followed by
other NGOs on how to successfully operate on a partnership level with a second
biggest continent in the universe.

Africa is a rich continent, with diverse political
system and levels of economics political development, and Turkey is a suitable
partner to the organization and the rising continent, improving their foreign
policy towards Africa is a much golden opportunity for Turkey and Africa, the
relation will also help in providing a spotlight for African Union and other
organizations within Africa to be more strong among the international
organizations. Looking at Turkeys industry and other sectors in economy, it’s
clear that they are compatible with that of African industries and economy.
Turkey not only has stable economy but it also has enough experience in the
field of foreign trade and free trade in the global scale.

Turkey-African summit that took place in 2008 also
plays an important role to the development and longtime continuation of
relations with Africa. It acted as a turning point in their relations since
2005. A clear example which comes to mind of the countries where Turkey was
involved with is Somalia since 2011. Others are Algeria, Ethiopia, Kenya,
Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tunisia, among others. Turkey has
rather a very interesting individual relations with different countries in
Africa and hence its foreign policy is rather large, summing up the individual
relations to mark the beginning of a partnership between the continent and the
country.

Turkish foreign policy towards Africa emerge first
after 1998, and civil society are the leads on that, at that point the policy
was rather passive and was not intended in a deeper level as it is now, back
then there was no deep interest between the two given the status that Turkey
was in. But these all changes after 2005, where Turkey became deeply interested
in Africa, its foreign policy was dedicated to Africa for mutual benefits and
it was determined to be the main political actor in the continent.

Turkey as a country is a legend in itself, and has
been on upper level in comparison to most of the European nations and also
western countries, it has open itself to the world and has gain so much in
return, but a close look into the Turkish foreign policy towards Africa clearly
show us its uniqueness and how significance it has been for both of them in the
past, present and the future.

Throughout history, Africa was known as a
birthplace of mankind and has been blessed with resources to serve mankind for
generations to come. African countries have faced so many phases of political
stability, dispute and also poverty, physical infrastructure, and so many
weaknesses in different sectors and aspect of the continent. However recently
there has been a rise in economic activities and developments have been
recorded.

Introduction

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