Turkey’s relations with the African Union (AU) have remained limited in the period of 1963-2002. Following the implementation of the 1998 Action Plan for the Opening Policy towards Africa, Turkey, participate in the African Union Summits as guest country after 2002, and obtained ‘‘observer status’’ in the African Union in 2005. Turkish Embassy in Addis Ababa, which is accredited to the African Union, has been closely following the works of the Organization.
Upon the invitation the H.E. Mr. Abdullah Gül, then the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, Prof. Alpha Oumar Konare, Chairperson of the African Union Commission visited Turkey on 21-25 November 2005. The said visit, constitute the first ever high-level visit from the African Union to Turkey. On the other hand, upon the invitation of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Prime Minister Erdoğan realized the first high-level visit from Turkey to participate in an African Union Summit on 29-30 January 2007, organized in Addis Ababa.
AU demonstrated its will to strengthen the relations with Turkey by declaring Turkey as the strategic partner of the Continent in 2008. Following the said decision, the First Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit was held on 18-21 August 2008, in Istanbul. “The Istanbul Declaration on Turkey-Africa Partnership: Solidarity and Partnership for a Common Future’’ and its annex ‘‘Framework of Cooperation for Turkey-Africa Partnership’’ were adopted at the said Summit. In this context, intergovernmental cooperation; trade and investment; agriculture, agribusiness, rural development, water resources management, small and medium scale enterprises; health; peace and security; infrastructure, energy and transport; culture, tourism and education; media, information and communication technology and environment were determined as the priority cooperation fields.
In parallel with the said Summit, “Turkey-African Business Forum” was held by the Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) and The Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON). This Forum provided an opportunity to promote Turkey’s economic capabilities to the African businessmen and bureaucrats.
As a part of the efforts to further develop the Turkish-African partnership an ‘‘African Strategy’’ was announced on 26 March 2010, by the Prime Ministry in order to implement a comprehensive strategy based on the above-mentioned cooperation areas, adopted at the Summit. Africa strategy aims to strengthen Turkey’s partnership with the African Union and the countries in continent by taking into account their peculiarities.
Within the framework of the follow-up mechanism adopted at the Summit, First High Level Officials Meeting of the Turkey-Africa Partnership was held in Istanbul on 15 December 2010. ‘‘2010-2014 Turkey-Africa Partnership Joint Implementation Plan’’ was adopted and a joint press statement was released at the meeting.
According to the referred follow-up mechanism, the First Ministerial Review Conference of Turkey-Africa Partnership was held in Istanbul on 16 December 2011. The Conference provided an excellent opportunity to review the developments achieved since 2008 and to discuss the steps to be taken to move forward the Turkish-African partnership. A Communique, on which Ministers unanimously agreed, was adopted as a result of the Conference. The Conference once more confirmed that Turkey-Africa Partnership is developing on a sound ground, based on the common will of the parties.
In the context of the said follow-up mechanism, Second High Level Official Meeting will be held in an African country in 2012 and the Second Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit will be realized also in Africa in 2013.