Turkey’s growing political and economic presence Africa since 2003

2021-10-10 12:30:30
Turkey’s growing political and economic presence Africa since 2003

The Turkish government has expanded the number of embassies in Africa to 43 from just 12 in 2002, as the country's economic and political presence in the continent continues to increase.

In September, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met in Istanbul with Moussa Faki, head of African Union Commission, to discuss preparations for the third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit to be held in December.

During Faki's first official visit to Turkey, Cavusoglu said his country has been a strategic partner of Africa since 2008.

"We aim to support Africa's development efforts and increase commercial, cultural and human relations between us," he added.

Turkey's top diplomat said the volume of bilateral trade has reached over $25 billion by the end of 2020 and that Ankara is determined to raise this figure to $50 billion.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spearheaded a coordinated strategy of opening embassies, connecting direct flights and deploying commercial counselors so that businesspeople can make a smooth entry into the new market.

Turkish Airlines has flights to 60 different destinations in 39 countries on the continent while the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) has nearly 30 coordination centers.

Turkey's web of relations are not well understood in the West, said Richard Outzen, a geopolitical consultant and former member of the U.S. State Department's Policy Planning Staff.

"Turkey actually has a very sophisticated diplomatic approach, and they've worked well in Africa, they've worked well in Asia, they have balanced relations with many countries throughout Central Asia and East Asia. Turkish-Japanese relations are pretty good. They also have a very strong historical relationship with South Korea," he said.

A relatively untapped frontier, Africa provides new markets for Turkish exporters with less rivalry. The same goes for Turkey's construction businesses, as Western companies often stay away due to business risks.


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