President Erdoğan preferred Africa for his first trip’s destination abroad in 2015. This preference carries more significance from the point of New Turkey’s political and economic vision.
Similar to the many habits that had changed in New Turkey, the doors being flung open from Turkey to the world had changed as well. Moreover, the African continent had also become one of the most important portals of those gates.
In a period, where the economic and political equilibriums are changing while new powers are appearing, Turkey, who has been an Afro-Eurasia (Africa, Europe-Asia) since the Ottomans, had entered a new period with the African countries, which had been ignored for years.
For this reason, the New Turkey perspective is rising to an active position in African countries, which it stood away from and didn’t interact with politically/economically.
As an Ethiopian student of mine, who studies in Turkey, says, “In Africa, we are watching Turkey’s ascent.”
ONE OF THE TRIVET’S LEGS OF THE AXIS EXPANSION: AFRICA
After 2002, Turkey gradually and unwaveringly realized the Africa expansion. Within this context, the declaration of 2005 as the “Year of Africa”, and, the Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit in 2008, are chiseling the road map for Turkey’s long-term economic policies in Africa.
Following the trip to Somalia in 2011, Turkey’s relations with African countries had taken on a different dimension. The newly cultivated relations played a great role in Turkey’s impression, outside the known and accustomed one, after 2002.
As President Erdoğan frequently reiterated during his recent African trip, Turkey’s perspective of Africa differs from that of the Western countries. The developing relations, which had been established on mutual trust, had now progressed to the level of cooperation and partnership.
As the existent trading volume has been deemed insufficient, the necessity of increasing investments and the statement of the need for reinforcing economic relations stand as clear evidence of how much Turkey cares about Africa, which is one of the legs of the trivet of Turkey’s axis expansion.
As President Erdoğan personally stated in Ethiopia, the objective of carrying the cooperation a step forward together with the expansion is presenting New Turkey’s political and economic strategy. If Turkey can reinforce their relations with the Middle East, Middle and Northern Africa, with economic partnerships, then Africa can also accomplish this easily.
Besides, Turkey’s technical aids via TİKA and Turkey’s role as pioneer in healthcare and educational investments will also reinforce the interaction of the nations, as well as economic relations.
On the other hand, during their G-20 Presidency, Turkey’s frequent emphasis on prioritizing the Least Developed Countries, also displays how much importance Turkey places on African countries in a global context.
NEW TURKEY IN AFRICA
The economic consistency, which had been riveted and reinforced by the political support in the 2002 – 2014 period, is a process observed by many developing countries with care and interest. Turkey’s success, which had also been stated during the African trip, is being interpreted not only as a national success, but also as a source of inspiration for developing and lesser developed countries.
Thus, this successful performance presented by Turkey is actually finding a voice in African countries and Islamic geographical locations.
Today, Turkey is being accepted as a model country for African countries, who couldn’t manage to harness the economic development that they desired, despite underground and terrestrial riches. For the countries in Africa, who cannot implement their country’s advantages and mobilize their potential, and whose fates are designated for them, Turkey’s experience is pursued with grave importance.
Turkey’s frequent statements about the necessity of African countries to have a say in the global economy agenda, and to object to the policies, which are only designated according to the interests of developed countries, is rendering Turkey trustable and fair in the eye of African countries.
Besides, Turkey’s relations with African countries, on a brotherhood level, and most importantly the complimentary aids Turkey provided towards them, are the forerunners on the list of factors that are increasing Turkey’s prestige in Africa.