Turkey’s President to visit Africa in new charm offensive
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey is set to visit three African countries amid a renewed charm offensive in Africa. Erdogan's tour, which will start on Oct. 17 and last four days, covers Angola, Nigeria and Togo.
The first stop will be Angola. Erdoğan hosted his Angolan counterpart Joao Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço in July, resulting in 10 bilateral cooperation agreements being signed during the visit, the first of its kind between the two countries at the presidential level.
The second stop on the African tour is Nigeria. Erdogan, who last paid an official visit to Nigeria in March 2016, hosted President Muhammadu Buhari in October 2017. Nigeria is Turkey's top trading partner in Sub-Saharan Africa with a trading volume of $754 million in 2020, which is expected to rise to more than $1 billion.
Fight against the Fetullah Organization (FETO), the group accused of being behind the 2016 failed coup in Turkey, will also be discussed during the Turkish president's visit.
The last stop of the African tour will be Togo. Erdogan held a telephone conversation with Togolese President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe in August. During the meeting, where bilateral relations were discussed, Erdogan stated that cooperation with Togo in the field of defense would have a multiplier effect in the development of relations. Erdogan is expected to be accompanied by a large delegation of businesspeople on his Africa tour.
President Erdogan has officially visited 28 African countries to date and his upcoming trip is significant as Turkey is hosting two important events in Istanbul: a two-day Turkey-Africa 3rd Economy and Business Summit on Oct. 21, and a two-day Turkey-Africa 3rd Partnership Summit on Dec. 17.
Turkey has been pursuing a policy of expanding its political, economic, social and cultural influence in Africa. To this effect, the number of Turkish embassies in Africa has increased from just 12 in 2002 to 43 in 2021.
Turkey's trade with Africa was $5.4 billion at the end of 2003, which climbed to $25.3 billion by 2020, despite the coronavirus pandemic.