Turkey-Africa Relations


a) Africa in General:
-Africa is now in an impressive surge of growth, urbanization and modernization. The natural and human resources are abundant and diverse. When we examine some basic indicators as follows, we see a re-emerging Africa with many promising developments.

-The Continent has recorded an annual growth rate of 5 percent over the last decade and is expected to continue this trend in the coming years. 6 out of 10 fastest growing economies in the world are in now Africa.

-70 percent of the Continent’s people live in countries that posted average growth rates in excess of 4 percent over the past decade. There is a middle class of about 313 million people, 34 percent of the population.

-Trade between Africa and the rest of the world has increased by 200 percent since 2000.

-Most part of this new wealth is because of economic reforms, increased productivity, urbanization and good governance while only a small part of the revenue is derived from usual commodities.

-In social arena as well, we see rapid developments. In 1980, only about 28 percent of Africans lived in cities. Today, 40 percent dwells in urban areas. It is expected to rise to 47 percent by 2025. Over the past decade school enrolment in Africa has increased by 50 percent.

-The Continent has made a remarkable progress in its efforts to deepen democracy. Last decade has witnessed a series of successful elections and peaceful transitions of power.

-African countries have recorded significant progress in the field of regional cooperation and integration in pursuit of conflict prevention and economic development.

-The African Union, which celebrated last year 50th anniversary of its establishment, stands out as a regional and international player.

-We have witnessed significant accomplishments of the African Union in promoting and enhancing good governance, democracy and economic integration across the Continent, and setting higher standards in these areas.

-Along with the African Union, the sub-regional organizations in the continent have proven themselves as important bodies in regional cooperation, mediation and conflict prevention.

-Overall, we are more than pleased to see that African countries, today, are increasing their efforts to overcome their challenges with their own resources and through their own mechanisms, in solidarity.

-All these economic and social trends, which permanently change economic and political landscape of the Continent, also demonstrate the real potential of Africa.

b) Turkey-Africa:
-Relations with Africa constitutes one of the prime orientations of Turkish foreign policy.

-Being an Afro-Eurasian state, Turkey’s policy of opening up to Africa is not just the reflection of a transient political and economic expectation.

-On the contrary, it is the product of a process with strong historical and cultural aspects.

-It is, foremost, the expression and natural result of the firm feelings of friendship and partnership between Turkish and African peoples.

-Turkey-Africa relations have gained a substantial momentum since the declaration of Turkey as a strategic partner of the Continent by the African Union in January 2008.

-Turkey has given further boost to its Africa policy as of 2013. We may describe this period as one wherein relations have been transformed into a mutually reinforced political-economic partnership.

-In this context, Turkey pursues a comprehensive and multilayered policy in Africa. The main tenets of this policy could be summarized as follows:

i)Establishing closer political relations by intensifying bilateral high level visits and, by acting as the voice of Africa, defending the legitimate rights and interests of African countries in our bilateral and multilateral talks.

ii)Supporting them in the economic sphere to overcome their difficulties through trade, investment and humanitarian assistance.

iii)When requested, playing a role through diplomacy in the peaceful settlement of disputes in the Continent.

iv)Providing assistance to the Continent to make further progress in the areas of democracy and good governance.

v)Giving support to the international and regional organizations.

vi)Participating actively in peacekeeping missions in Africa.

vii)Upholding the principle of “African solutions for African problems” in accordance with the policy of the African Union.


-Turkey has long-standing historical and cultural relations with the African continent, dating back centuries.

-The first state founded by the Turks in Africa was the Tulunids, which ruled today’s Egypt in the 9th and 10th centuries.

-In the subsequent period, in the 16th Century, the Ottoman Navy commanded by Admiral Seydi Ali Reis defended the people of the Zanzibar Island against the occupying forces. Good relations were also established with the Kingdom of Timbuktu which was located around today’s Mali. Likewise, relations were established with the Kanem Empire that once occupied the territories of today’s Niger, Chad, North Nigeria and North Cameroon.

-Historical relations with North and Northeast Africa have an exclusive place in the memories of our peoples.


a) Milestones in Turkey’s Africa Policy
-Turkey’s policy of the opening up to Africa dates back to the Action Plan adopted in 1998.

-A strategy on the Development of the Economic Relations with African Countries was prepared by the Undersecretariat for Foreign Trade in 2003.

-Subsequently 2005 was declared as a “Year of Africa” by the Turkish Government and Turkey was accorded observer status by the Africa Union the same year.

-2008 has a particular significance in the development of the Turkish-African relations. In that year, the African Union, at its 10th Summit, declared Turkey as a strategic partner of the Continent. Furthermore, the “Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit” was held with the participation of 49 African countries on 18-21 August 2008, in İstanbul.

-Turkey welcomed the decision of the 10th African Union Summit in January 2008 declaring Turkey as a strategic partner. “Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit”, on the other hand, initiated a steady and sustainable cooperation process.

-“The Istanbul Declaration on Turkey-Africa Partnership: Cooperation and Solidarity for a Common Future” and “Cooperation Framework for Turkey-Africa Partnership”, which was adopted during the First Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit of 2008 established a follow-up mechanism.

-Accordingly, the High-Level Officials Meeting was held in 15 December 2010. The Ministerial Level Reviewing Conference was held in 16 December 2011, in Istanbul.

-Within the said follow-up mechanism, the “Second Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit” will be held in November 2014 in Malabo (Equatorial Guinea).

-Additionally, Turkey co-chaired with Egypt “International Donor’s Conference for the Reconstruction and Development of Darfur” in Cairo, on 21 March 2010 and hosted twice the Istanbul Somalia Conferences organized within the UN framework on 21-23 May 2010 and 31 May-1 June 2012 consequently.

-Turkey also eagerly hosted the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, in Istanbul on 9-13 May 2011 and offered to host the Mid-Term Review Conference of the Istanbul Programme of Action in 2015.

b) Turkey’s Relations with the African Union and Regional Organizations
-Turkey will remain committed to support the institutional capacities of the African Union and other regional organizations in achieving progress on the priority areas which will consolidate African ownership of African matters.

-Being an observer country (2005) and strategic partner (2008) of the African Union, Turkey has also been accepted as a non-regional member of the African Development Bank (2008). Furthermore, following accreditations has been done:

i)Turkish Embassy in Addis Ababa is accredited to the Intergovernmental Authority on Development Partners Forum (IGAD) (2012).

ii)Turkish Embassy in Abuja is accredited to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) (2005).

iii)Turkish Embassy in Dar-es-Salaam is accredited to the East African Community (EAC) (2010).

iv)Turkish Embassy in Lusaka is accredited to Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) (2012).

v)Turkish Embassy in Libreville is accredited to Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) (2013).

-Turkey supports and commends the efforts of ECOWAS in Mali, ECCAS in Central African Republic and IGAD in South Sudan for the constructive role they have played in time of political turmoil and instability.


-Turkey’s Africa policy has ushered in a new phase and gained a fresh momentum in 2013 which we describe as mutually reinforced political-economic partnership.

-In the year of 2009 there were only 12 Turkish Embassies in African. There is now 35 and we are planning to open 4 more in a very short time.

-It is not one sided. We see, today, a growing number of African Embassies in Ankara. It reached 28 while it was merely around 10 five years ago.

-It is not just about diplomatic representation.

-People to people contacts have intensified tremendously as a result of direct flights between Turkey and African countries as well as ever growing numbers of students, business people and tourists travelling both ways.

-Turkish Airlines has become major international airline connecting the continent to the world with a total number of flights to 46 destinations in 28 countries.

-More than 200 thousand people travel mutually between Turkey and the African countries for business, tourism and cultural purposes.

-Bilateral trade volume has reached 23.4 billion USD in 2013 with all Africa. It is 7,5 billion USD with Sub-Saharan Africa. When we compare the figures in 2000 which was about 750 million USD and 2013, we see an increase of almost tenfold.

-Turkish contractors are amongst the major undertakers in the continent. Share of African countries in the overall international business volume of Turkish contractors is around 19 percent. Turkish contractors have undertaken projects in the amount of 39 billion USD in Africa between 1972-2013.

-Turkey provides around 500 scholarships annually for students from Africa.

-In addition to many technical training programmes undertaken by different Ministries and institutions, around 200 junior diplomats have attended training programmes organized by the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1992.

-We attach particular importance to ensuring peace and stability in Africa and contribute to the United Nations missions deployed in the continent. Turkey is currently providing personnel and contributing financially to six of the existing nine UN missions in Africa.

-Turkey has become a leading country in humanitarian activities all over the continent.

-Turkish International Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) currently operates 9 Program Coordination Offices in Africa.

-Turkey became the fourth-largest donor in 2012 in the world.

-Including the contribution of the Turkish NGOs in the fields of health, education, and capacity building Turkey’s total humanitarian assistance reaches 2 billion US dollars per year.

-Africa had a share of 31 percent from Turkey’s Official Development Assistance in 2012 which represents an amount of 772 million USD. When we look at the figures of last five years, this represents a big increase (It was 28 million USD in 2006, 39 million USD in 2007, 96 million USD in 2009, 102 million USD in 2010 and 425 million USD in 2011).

-Health sector constitutes another important aspect of Turkey’s humanitarian assistance to African countries. We have signed health cooperation agreements with 17 African countries.

-Turkish doctors have taken part in numerous health screening campaigns organized by Turkish NGOs in cooperation with our Ministry of Health and TIKA (According to estimation figures we received from NGOs, 500 Turkish doctors and over 100 health personnel have provided health case in around 20 countries. Overall over 280.000 Africans have undergone health screenings.)

-As an example, within the framework of “Africa Cataract Project” which has been implemented in 4 countries (Niger, Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan) a total of 21.600 patients have been operated during last year.

-A total of 21.953 patients have been checked, treated and provided with medicine in 2013.

-Vocational training extended to African countries by the Turkish Ministry of Health is an important element of cooperation between Turkey and Africa in the health sector.

-The Turkish-Sudanese Research and Training Hospital in Nyala which is constructed by TIKA is completed and the Hospital started its operations on February 28, 2014 with a remarkable ceremony.

-In Somalia, Turkey has built and equipped the biggest hospital in Mogadishu. With 200 beds, Digfer Hospital will be officially open coming days.

-The Educational Hospital in Juba (South Sudan) and the Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) are among the health institutions to which the Turkish Ministry of Health has made significant contributions