TR Why Turkey's election is being closely followed in Africa

Saithan

Experienced member
Denmark Correspondent
Messages
8,053
Reactions
18 18,524
Nation of residence
Denmark
Nation of origin
Turkey
By Marina Daras
BBC World Service

Turkey's influence in Africa has been growing massively over the past 20 years and whoever wins Sunday's presidential run-off will have to consider where next to take the relationship.
Short presentational grey line

Ever since Recep Tayyip Erdogan took power in Turkey two decades ago, first as prime minister then as president, he has taken an increasing interest in Africa.
He saw economic, military and diplomatic opportunities.

The bond between Ankara and the continent is likely to only get stronger if the president is re-elected.

His rival, Republican People's Party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, has his eyes set on Europe and the West and is less likely to make Africa a priority.

"Mr Kilicdaroglu stressed the need for recalibrating relations with the West and said he will try to revive the accession process to the European Union," says Serkan Demirtas, Ankara bureau chief for Hurriyet Daily News and a Turkish foreign policy expert.

"In an interview, he even said that a 180-degree turn is to be expected when it comes to foreign policy. But he fell short of detailing how these changes will impact the relations with key countries in the world."

However, Ece Goksedef from the BBC's Turkish service points out that Turkey's foreign policy towards the continent would take some time to recalibrate, so it is unlikely it will change that drastically given the strong foundation of this new relationship.

When did Turkey-Africa relations take off?​

The seeds for the enhanced co-operation between Africa and Turkey were planted during Mr Erdogan's stint as prime minister, which began in 2003.

Mr Erdogan saw a potential economic boon.

"In the early 2000s, the Turkish economy witnessed continued growth and was looking for new markets," says foreign policy expert Mr Demirtas.

"A diverse market with more than 50 countries and more than 1.2 billion people offers lucrative opportunities for Turkish exporters and businessmen."

Turkey's annual trade with the continent increased from $5.4bn (£4.4bn) to $34.5bn between 2003 and 2021, according to figures from the Turkish foreign ministry, led by chemicals, steel and cereals.

The Turks were keen to stress that this was not an exploitative relationship and in 2013, then Prime Minister Erdogan said on a visit to Gabon that "Africa belongs to Africans, we are not here for your gold".

What about military interests?​

Arms deals - also referred to as "drone diplomacy" - are a clear money-maker for Ankara.

After proving its worth in Libya, Armenia and Ukraine, the Bayraktar TB-2 drone is now being presented as the perfect weapon to target the mobile and nimble jihadist groups hiding in West Africa's Sahel region.
This March, a dozen of the drones arrived on the tarmac of the airport in Mali's capital, Bamako.

In the presence of Malian junta leader Col Assimi Goïta and a handful of Turkish diplomats, Mali's defence minister welcomed the new batch of the weapons saying that they "can help make artillery and air strikes more accurate".

In addition to Mali, Turkey has sold drones to Burkina Faso, Togo and Niger - the four Sahelian nations are desperate to combat the rise of Islamist militants in the region.
A Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone flies at Gecitkale military airbase near Famagusta in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) on December 16, 2019

The Bayraktar TB-2 is in demand on the continent

Turkey has also engaged in talks with Benin, which until recently was untouched by the Islamist insurgency but is now witnessing a rise in attacks and intrusions on its territory.

Morocco, Tunisia, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Somalia are also all known customers of the Turkish-manufactured armed drones.

While China still dominates this market on the continent, Turkey offers a more affordable option with a shorter waiting list.

Turkey also offers other military hardware.

Armoured and mine-clearance vehicles, sensor and surveillance systems and rifles have also been part of the many arms deals Turkey has recently signed with African countries.

In total, 30 states on the continent have some sort of security-related agreement with Turkey - 21 of them were ratified in 2017 - according to a report by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

As well as being fully invested in counter-terrorism initiatives, Ankara has also increased its humanitarian aid to countries like Nigeria, Mauritania, and Niger.

How has diplomacy shifted?​

Outside the military and trade deals, Mr Erdogan has been very active cementing the Turkey-Africa relationship.
In 2005, Turkey became an observer member of the African Union before being elevated to the role of strategic partner three years later.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Senegalese President Macky Sall (2nd L) attend the inauguration of Senegal Stadium in Dakar, Senegal on February 22, 2022

Turkish President Erdogan (L) and Senegalese President Macky Sall (R) appeared together at the opening of a stadium in Dakar last year

Turkey says there have been 50 official visits to about 30 African countries since 2014.

President Erdogan has visited Senegal four times - as often as he has been to China or Germany.

And where he goes, a business delegation goes with him, resulting in key infrastructure projects being awarded to Turkish companies, like the Dakar Olympic swimming pool or the Kigali Arena in Rwanda, East Africa's biggest stadium.

More recently, Uganda has terminated its contract with a Chinese firm in charge of building a railway to the Kenyan border and is considering a deal with a Turkish company instead.

Turkey-Africa summits have always been well-attended by continental heads of state .

Perhaps the most telling fact is the number of Turkish embassies on the continent. It has 44 across Africa - similar to the US with 49 and France, 46, although some way behind China's 53.

What else is Turkey offering Africa?​

Turkey has also tried to increase its soft power on the continent.

The recent expansion of its footprint is undoubtedly the launch of TRT Afrika.

Turkey's public broadcaster TRT banked on the withdrawal of several competitors in the region to launch this digital news platform in French, English, Swahili and Hausa.

But perhaps the biggest cultural impact comes from Turkish soap operas, which have become huge hits in several African countries - from Ethiopia to Senegal.

A less-well known aspect of the relationship with Africa is energy.

Off the back of presidential visits, Turkish company, Karpowership, has signed deals for its ship-mounted power plants to supply electricity to several West African countries, and last week South Africa. These are moored off the coast and directly plugged into the national grid, supply between 30 MW and 470 MW per vessel.

If Erdogan wins, he is expected to build on this relationship. A victory for Kilicdaroglu might push Africa down the priority list but he is unlikely to do anything to jeopardise such deep and lucrative ties.

source : https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-65671723
 

Afif

Experienced member
Moderator
Bangladesh Correspondent
DefenceHub Diplomat
Bangladesh Moderator
Messages
3,769
Reactions
62 6,663
Nation of residence
Bangladesh
Nation of origin
Bangladesh
And in South East Asia we are just chill about it.😁
Except probbaly for Pakistan, if Erdogan is gone they are in trouble.
 

fushkee

Active member
Messages
121
Reactions
4 177
Nation of residence
Turkey
Nation of origin
Turkey
There is no logic to index everything with Erdogan regarding foreign affairs. We have a state policy not government. Yes Government may influence and change policy but not 180 degree. I don't understand south Asian people why they are so obsessed to Erdogan not Turkiye herself.
 

Afif

Experienced member
Moderator
Bangladesh Correspondent
DefenceHub Diplomat
Bangladesh Moderator
Messages
3,769
Reactions
62 6,663
Nation of residence
Bangladesh
Nation of origin
Bangladesh
There is no logic to index everything with Erdogan regarding foreign affairs. We have a state policy not government. Yes Government may influence and change policy but not 180 degree. I don't understand south Asian people why they are so obsessed to Erdogan not Turkiye herself.

That is precisely what I said, we are not concerned about if Erdogan stays or not.
But for Pakistan, AK Party and Erdogan's conservative ideology seems to play in their benefits more than usual. (Specially when it comes to matters like Kashmir)

No. RTE is irrelevant for TR-PK relations.

I am still trying figure out, even with such low trade volume how PAK still strategically relevant to TR? Just for weapon sales? What could be the non-conservative pragmatic perspective behind it?
 
Last edited:

Merzifonlu

Contributor
Think Tank Analyst
DefenceHub Diplomat
Messages
657
Reactions
23 1,943
Nation of residence
Turkey
Nation of origin
Turkey
I am still trying figure out, even with such low trade volume how PAK still strategically relevant to TR? Just for weapon sales? What is the non-conservative pragmatic perspective behind it?
Even if the trade volume is "0" (ZERO in text), Pakistan and Bangladesh (formerly part of Pakistan) are Turkey's strategic partners. The reason has nothing to do with commerce at all. In the Turkish War of Independence, Indian Muslims, who were Indian citizens at that time, supported Mustafa Kemal by sending the gold they had saved.

The Hindus of India did not do such a thing, instead they raided the hospital on the Gallipoli front, where they fought under the command of the British, and bayoneted the wounded Turkish soldiers! We have not forgotten the Hindus of India, nor the Muslims of India!

However, there is a situation like this: While Bangladesh became ideologically close to Türkiye and secularized over time, thus saving own future, Pakistan turned to the path of radical Islamist Salafists. Naturally, Pakistan is currently on the verge of collapse. For this reason, there has been an increasing alienation between Pakistan and Türkiye. Some Pakistanis refer to the secular peoples as "sickculars" on their forums. Turks, at least secular Turks like me, cannot get close to Pakistan with this mentality.
 
Last edited:

Baryshx

Contributor
Messages
915
Reactions
8 1,914
Website
www.twitter.com
Nation of residence
Turkey
Nation of origin
Turkey
Even if the trade volume is "0" (ZERO in text), Pakistan and Bangladesh (formerly part of Pakistan) are Turkey's strategic partners. The reason has nothing to do with commerce at all. In the Turkish War of Independence, Indian Muslims, who were Indian citizens at that time, supported Mustafa Kemal by sending the gold they had saved.

The Hindus of India did not do such a thing, they raided the hospital on the Gallipoli front, where they fought under the command of the British, and bayoneted the wounded Turkish soldiers! We have not forgotten the Hindus of India, nor the Muslims of India!

However, there is a situation like this: While Bangladesh became ideologically close to Turkey and secularized over time, thus saving its future, Pakistan turned to the path of radical Islamist Salafists. Naturally, Pakistan is currently on the verge of collapse. For this reason, there has been an increasing alienation between Pakistan and Türkiye. Some Pakistanis refer to the secular peoples as "sickculars" on their forums. Turks, at least secular Turks like me, cannot get close to Pakistan with this mentality.
Exactly, I agree with you

It's amazing that a country like Pakistan can produce someone like Muhammad Iqbal, if only they had followed his path. They would be in very good places now. At least they would be a country like Indonesia. But they chose to be a shit country, just like Afghanistan...
 

GoatsMilk

Experienced member
Messages
3,328
Reactions
9 8,737
Nation of residence
United Kingdom
Exactly, I agree with you

It's amazing that a country like Pakistan can produce someone like Muhammad Iqbal, if only they had followed his path. They would be in very good places now. At least they would be a country like Indonesia. But they chose to be a shit country, just like Afghanistan...

You want a Muslim majority nation to ruin herself to the benefit of the outsider, you pump money and support to the islamist radicals. Its for good reason all the tarikets within Turkiye are supported financially by the USA.

"islamism" basically rots the minds of Muslims. It takes away their ability to reason and behave sensibly and ultimately they end up destroying themselves.

One thing you find with minds that have already been contaminated is their binary approach to all issues, the complete inability to understand nuance or context. Most Islamists hear the word "secular" and they think it means "those who hate or against islam" as an example.
 

GoatsMilk

Experienced member
Messages
3,328
Reactions
9 8,737
Nation of residence
United Kingdom
Even if the trade volume is "0" (ZERO in text), Pakistan and Bangladesh (formerly part of Pakistan) are Turkey's strategic partners. The reason has nothing to do with commerce at all. In the Turkish War of Independence, Indian Muslims, who were Indian citizens at that time, supported Mustafa Kemal by sending the gold they had saved.

This issue alone binds the Turkish mindset. From the Turkish perspective in maybe are darkest moment in history these people helped and supported us. Maybe without that support we wouldn't be here today. Maybe their would be no Turkiye today.

As far as Pakistan is concerned we should have helped raise their standard of governance, but then we too came under attack of American financed Islamist factions. Maybe 20 years now Turkiye will be in big trouble too.

What happens when the Islamists get another 10 to 20 million MENA types who are easier to draw into Sharia dictatorship then the common secular minded Turk? All it takes is another american financed islamist group to win an election and its over.
 

Baryshx

Contributor
Messages
915
Reactions
8 1,914
Website
www.twitter.com
Nation of residence
Turkey
Nation of origin
Turkey
You want a Muslim majority nation to ruin herself to the benefit of the outsider, you pump money and support to the islamist radicals. Its for good reason all the tarikets within Turkiye are supported financially by the USA.

"islamism" basically rots the minds of Muslims. It takes away their ability to reason and behave sensibly and ultimately they end up destroying themselves.

One thing you find with minds that have already been contaminated is their binary approach to all issues, the complete inability to understand nuance or context. Most Islamists hear the word "secular" and they think it means "those who hate or against islam" as an example.
Political Islamist has no equivalent in Türkiye. They are already a minority in Türkiye and seen as marginal. They only deceive themselves. They have nothing to do with Islam. They enjoy themselves with the Islam they have invented, with interests, positions, positions and money. They continue to exploit and deceive the people in other countries such as the crappy Arab countries etc.
 

dBSPL

Experienced member
Think Tank Analyst
DefenceHub Ambassador
Messages
2,032
Reactions
77 10,486
Nation of residence
Turkey
Nation of origin
Turkey

UNRAVELLING TURKISH INVOLVEMENT IN THE SAHEL​

28 JUL 2023 - 13:36

GEOPOLITICS AND LOCAL IMPACT
In the past decade, Turkey has significantly expanded its engagement in Africa, leading to concerns within the European Union (EU) that this influence might be used to undermine EU policy and member states. This policy brief analyses the strategic motives and evolution of Turkish involvement in the Sahel region, focusing specifically on Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Drawing from interviews conducted with Sahelian and Turkish political, business, diplomatic and educational stakeholders between October and December 2022, the authors contend that Turkey’s foreign policy in the Sahel demonstrates a multifaceted approach that aims to strengthen its presence across economic, cultural, defence and development spheres. However, it is also emphasised that Turkey’s engagement in the Sahel remains relatively limited when compared to its activities in other African countries, for example Libya, Somalia and Algeria. In light of these findings, this policy brief recommends that the EU adopt a pragmatic approach, drawing lessons from Turkey’s strategy while trying to manage, and where possible benefit from, the impact of Turkish security assistance and to foster opportunities for Sahelian populations in Europe through scholarships and employment initiatives.
Download policy brief.




EXPERTS

Andrew Lebovich
Research Fellow


Nienke van Heukelingen

Research Fellow
 

Follow us on social media

Top Bottom