TURKISH FOREING POLICY TOWARDS AFRICA SINCE
AKParty . By Dr. Bishcara Ali EGAL. March 6th, 2021
“We should not allow the pandemic to slow-down the momentum in
our relations with Africa.” ~ Rejep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkish -Somali relations goes bk centuries during the Ottoman empire rule in the
Coastal Northern Somalia of Zeiylac (Adal Sultanate) , Berbera , Xees & Meyle
Somali settlements which were ruled by the Ottomans.(1)
Imam Ahmed Gurrey sooth and received Ottoman support in his holly war against
the combined Portuguese Slave- Traders & Mercenaries and Their Christian
Abyssinian Highlanders- the Menelik between 1522- 1600. The Ottaman empire
ruled somalia from (1559 -1867).
The Ottamans supported Somali Anti-Imperialist and Anti- Colonialist of British
empire in late 19th. and early 20th centuries in Northern somalia contributing to the
“Derviash Liberation Movement led by late Sayyid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan
Thus, Modern Relations between Turkey and Somalia have a long and deep
history dating back to the Ottoman Empire support for Imam Ahmed
Guran(Gurey) war of Liberation again Christian Abyssinia( Ethiopia) invaders
of Western Somalia between (1270-1555),
First Turkish Embassy was opened in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1979, under the
Revolutionary Government of late President Mohamed Siyad Barre and Closed
in 1991 during the civil war 1991-2000.and reopened on 1 November 2011. On 1
June 2014, Turkish Consulate General in Hargeisa started its operations.
Although Turkish Embassy in Mogadishu was closed in 1991, Turkey did not
remain indifferent to the developments in the country, and tried to contribute to the 3
establishment of peace and stability in Somalia.
From 1992 – 1994 Turkish Government sent a 2000 military contingent to
participate the UN sponsored Humanitarian United Task Force- UNITAF
Operation Restore Hope, A United States initiative (code-named Operation
Restore Hope), UNITAF was charged with carrying out United Nations Security
Council Resolution 794 to create a protected environment for conducting
humanitarian operations in the southern half of the country.
TURKISH FOREIGN POLICY POST 9/11
Prior to 2003 elections of the “Party of Justice and Development”, AK Party
Government, Turkish Foreign Policy was basically focused on a policy of “ Zero
Problems with its Neighbors”- Russia, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Syria and
Armenia , which was based on principles of Peace at home and Overseas which
was an out-look for EU integration policy.
Since AK Parti came to power in 2002, there has been a huge transformation in
Turkish foreign policy. Until early 2000’s, Turkey had largely followed a
one dimensional foreign policy based on Western orientation despite different
push factors coming from society to reach out to different parts of the world such
as the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Balkans, but these shifts were neither
deep-rooted nor comprehensive, rather based on ad hoc policies. Since 2002, one
can talk about a ‘period of openings’ to pre viously neglected regions of the world
in Turkish foreign policy to widen Turkey’s options in international politics.
However, these openings have occurred not only in eco nomic and political terms,
but also have strong social and religious dimensions. (2).
Turkey adjustment to the Global challenges and realities of volatile
Globalization and New world Economic realities that faced Turkey since post 9/11.
Since EU rejection of Turkish membership 1998 , Turkey was forced to look new
modalities of FP strategies Globally other then EU based synergies.
Thus, “The new geopolitical realities of the 21st century have compelled many
countries, including Turkey, to redefine their strategic priorities and adjust them
selves to the new dynamics of multiple modernities and mulidirectional –
mulitipolar world , This transformations are based on three inter-related areas of
concern for Turkey: Global Political Structures, World Economy and the 4
sociopolitical Order.” (3)
THE TURKISH FOREIGN POLICY TOWARDS AFRICA
Since 2002 Turkey FP strategies has pivoted in expanding its relations with 54+
african cunteries at bar with China and France.
Thus, Turkey’s Out-ward looking FP dates back in the early 2002 under the helm
of Dr. Ahmed Davutoglu was based on his (2001) book, “Stratejik Derinlik”
(Strategic Depth) in vision of looking & considering Turkey as an “Afro-Eurasian
“rather then “Euro-asian”. As a result of this ideological, Socio-economic , political,
and military transformation has undertaken Globaly and African continent in
particularly since 2002.
Turkey made use of its Geographical, Political, Military, Diplomatical by using and
employing variouse agents of change such as: – Ankara exerts its influence on the
continent in a multifaceted multi-pronged manner by engaging in trade, military
cooperation, education, diplomacy, infrastructure, civil society, and political
relations with African nations.
• Education and Technical +Vocational Education
• Turkish Emabassies & Diplomates from 12 in 2003 to 50 in 2021
• Trade & Commerce & Finances
• Bussinesses and Media
• Military and Security sector
• Infra_structure building
• Turkish NGOs in Humanitarian sector .
• Religouse coordination’s and Bridging by Diyannit Ministery.
THE STRATEGIC DEPTH DOCTRINE OF TURKISH FOREIGN POLICY 5
“Therefore, Davutoglu’s redifinition, Turkey’s geostratic position is reinforced by its
historical and cultural ties to the counteries and nations in its neighbourhood . In
this FP vision, Turkey has become a key country, emerging from its position of
serving as a forward base for NATO during the Cold War. By using its geopolitical
and geostrategic position, Turkey can become a regional as well as a global actor.
As part of this vision, the government has pursued a policy of ending its long-term
hositilites with its neighbours, mainly in the Middle East, which the Ottoman Turks
had once ruled.(7).
AK Party’s Muliti-polar and Pro-Muslim Foreing Policy
Since coming to power in 2002, the AK Party has reviewed the means by which
Turkey should strive to achieve greater prominence in international affairs, but it
has kept political Islam’s vision of carving out a prominent role for Turkey
internationally by cultivating closer ties with the wider Mus-lim world. the AKP has
sought to attain a more influential role for itself in the existing international system.
President Erdogan and AK party Govt., opposes the injustices of the current
international system; he does not problematise the purported Judeo-Christian
values that underpin the present international system. The AKP lambastes this
system for being a construct of the post-World War II settlement, and for
increasingly being detached from the reality of the present. Erdogan’s catchphrase
“the world is bigger than five”, refers to the dominant position of the five permanent
members of the United Nations Security Council in the international system.
Dr. Ahmed Davutoglu, therefore, may have expressed this grand vision more
eloquently and put it into more sophisticated theoretical frameworks. However,
Turkish foreign policy was by no mean solely the product of Davutoglu’s vision. It
was more or less a shared vision of Turkish political Islam. President Erdogan
was a firm believer in and supporter of the most part of Davutoglu’s foreign policy
vision and Actions.(8)
In the last 15 years Turkey has infested heavily in Africa in Infra-structure,
Agriculture, Ports and Railways, Education, Hospitals and Opened its first Military
Base in Mogadishou, Somalia in 2017 training Somali National Army(SNA) and
rehabilitating, rejuvenating ,re-arming SNA. Turkish military base in Mogadishu
worth $50 million, Ankara’s largest overseas base. Over 5000 Somali trainees of
Officer and Non-Commissioned Officer Corps had been already trained both in the
Mogadishu Turkish – Somali military Base and further Military training in Turkey
Military Academies. Turkey is set to build a Military force of at least 25, 000 6
Turkish new Foreign Policy pivot and activism towards Africa is based on Three principles
of Economic and Political Justice, 2) Balance between National Security , and Social
Justice and Democracy 3) Win- Win Economic cooperation & Integration and
economic development among Turkey and African nations. As well as Humanitarian
support and Human development.
Turkey obtained the status of observer state within the African Union in 2005. Three
years later, in 2008, the first Turkey-Africa Summit was organized with the participation of
50 African states.
This summit 2011 (Turkey -Africa ) aimed at exploring various development
opportunities and building a solid economic relationship. At the end of this summit, the
“Istanbul Declaration on the Africa-Turkey Partnership” and the “Cooperation Framework
for the Africa-Turkey Partnership” were adopted. These two documents form the basis of
Turkey-Africa cooperation. Since then, this summit has been organized every four years
alternately in Africa and Turkey. As a result of these summits, Turkish-African relations
have seen unprecedented development. Turkey joined the African Development Bank
in 2013 and thus became the 78th member state of the African Development Bank.
According to Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey has been making an annual
financial contribution of 1 million US dollars to the African union since 2009.(9+10)
Economic exchanges have risen to over 170 billion dollars since 2009. Turkish exports to
the continent have reached 121 billion dollars while its imports are at the level of 58 billion
dollars. Today Turkish investments are clearly visible in Africa. In a matter of a few years,
Turkey has managed to establish itself as a competitor to the Western powers (France +
UK) already present in Africa due to colonization.
Diplomatically Turkey expanded its missions in the continent from 12 in 2003 to 50 in
The Turkey’s flag (THY)carrier flies to 56 destinations in Africa, second only to
Ethiopian Airlines and first in terms of cargo services which is in competition with other
Therefore, Turkish Geographic position, Historical connection and relationship with
Africa(NA and HOA)regions. Turkey shares with predominately Muslim Africa is Islamic
religion and its Ottoman history.
Therefore, Turkeys’ new Foreign policy Outlook and various instruments it has employed 7
have made it a major “Soft- Power” country with lots to offer to Africa weather
Economic, Political, Technological know-how, trade , investments, Humanitarian services,
civil socities , Health, Education and Humn services as well as Military and security sector
to All African Partners.
Turkish Trade and Investments with Africa since 2002.
TURKEY TRADE VOLUME WITH AFRICA IN $ BILLIONS
Year Amount in $ Billions
2020 $20.00 (Due to Covid-19)
2021 $50 Billion (Estimated)8
TURKISH MEMBERSHIP OF INTERNATIONAL
UN Full Member
NATO Full Member
G20 Full Member
OIC Full Member
AU Observer Status
OECD Full Member
PARIS CLUB Associate Member
THE ARAB LEAGUE Observer Status
OSCE Full Member9
1) The Adal Sultanate of Somalia . Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Adal_Sultanate(accessaed march 20th, 2021)
2) Owens, Travis. BELEAGUERED MUSLIM FORTRESSES AND ETHIOPIAN
IMPERIAL EXPANSION FROM THE 13TH TO THE 16TH CENTURY (PDF). NAVAL
POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL. p. 23. (accessed , march 20th, 2021)
3) Kalin, Ibrahim ( Winter2011-12) Journal Article Turkish foreign policy: Framework,
values, and mechanisms International Journal, Vol. 67, No. 1, Charting the new Turkish
foreign policy (Winter 2011-12), pp. 7-21 (15 pages). Published by: Sage Publications,
Ltd. on behalf of the Canadian International Council.
(accessed march 22, 2021)
4) Ozkan, Mehmet (2018). Turkey in South- South Cooperation : New Foreign Policy
Approach in Africa. http://journals.rudn.ru/internationalrelations/article/view/20104(accessed april2, 2021)
5) Mehmet Ozkan & Serhat Orakci (2015).Viewpoint :Turkey as a “Political” Actor in
Africa-an assessment of Turkish Involvment in Somalia. In Journal of Eastern African
Studies. Vol#9 No#2 https://doi.org/10.1080/17531055.2015.1042629(accessed
6) “World is Bigger Than Five…“Dünya, 5’ten büyüktür.”! Cumhurba?kan? Erdo?an B.M.
Genel Ku-rulu’nda.”, Erdogan’s speech at the United Nations,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTR8xkxITcg (accessed, April 11, 2021)
7) Lale Sariibrahimoglu (200()Davutoglu Promoting “Strategic Depth” in Turkish
Foreign Policy.Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 8.
https://jamestown.org/program/davutoglu-promoting-strategic-depth-in-turkishforeign-policy/(accessed, April12, 2021)
8) Yesiltas, Murat & Ali Balci (2013) A Dictionary of Turkish Foreign Policy in
the AK Party Era: A Conceptual Map,#7 SAM Papers, Sakarya University, Sakarya,
ents (accessed march 23, 2021)10
10)Dahir, Abdinor Hassan(2018) AID_ IN_ FOREIGN_ POLICY_ THE_TURKEY_
11) https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14588960 ( Erdogn Historical Visit to
Somalia in August 19 , 2011) by BBC services.
12) TRT world -Decoded: Turkey in Africa ( December 2020)
ZzG?projector=1(Accessaed march 24th, 2021)
13)Turkish Eeying more investments in Ethiopia -Turkish Envoy, Hurriet -Daily News .(
February, 2021) https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/ turkey-eyeing-more- investments-inethiopia-envoy-162415(Accessed , March 22, 2021)
14)Kosebalabn, Hassan(2011). Turkish Foreign Policy: Islam , Nationalism and
Globalization. (London:Palgrave, Macmillan, UK)
15) MFA(2019)Turkeys Enterprising And Humanitarian Foreign Policy
https://www.mfa.gov.tr/synopsis-of-the-turkish-foreign-policy.en.mfa(accessed april 3,
16) Galip Dalay and Dov Friedman, “The AK Party and the Evolution of Turkish
Political Islam’s For-eign Policy,” Insight Turkey 15 (2) (2013): 123–139
17)Zehra Nur Duz (2019) Number of Turkish Embassies in Africa has increased rises
from 12 to49(Anadol Agency. https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/-number- of-turkishembassies-in-africa-rises-from-12-to-42/1619429(accessed, april 7, 2021