TURKEY-AFRICA RELATIONS

AFRICA

Developing our relations and cooperation with the African Continent constitute one of the basic principles of our multi-dimensional foreign policy.

It is expected that Africa will play a more active role in the international system as of the second half of the 21st century and assume an increasingly important role on the global stage. The economic and commercial potential and geopolitical weight of the rapidly developing Continent in several areas have started to attract a vast number of countries and investors to Africa in recent years.

Turkey shares its own historical experience, social, political and cultural accumulation as well as its opportunities and resources with African countries under the principle of "African solutions for African problems" and on the basis of mutual benefit.

Constructed on a historical foundation, Turkey's Africa policy involves establishing political, humanitarian, economic and cultural relations on bilateral, regional, continental and global levels.

In recent years, significant progress has been made in our relations with the Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries in numerous fields. Turkey’s African Initiative Policy process, which started in 1998, gained momentum when our country became an observing member and strategic partner of the African Union (AU) in 2005 and 2008 respectively. Since then, rapid progress has been made in several fields such as trade, investment, cultural projects, security and military cooperation, development projects. The African Initiative Policy, which was successfully completed, has been replaced by the Africa Partnership Policy as of 2013.

With our Africa Partnership Policy, which is the product of an integrated understanding that includes the activities of public institutions, private sector, non-governmental organizations and humanitarian aid organizations, we aim to contribute to the peace, stability, economic and social development of the Continent, and develop our bilateral relations on the basis of equal partnership and mutual benefit.

Mutual high-level visits play an important role in maintaining our Africa Partnership Policy. H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of the Republic of Turkey has visited (Algeria, Chad, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Egypt, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of South Africa, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia) 28 African countries so far, including his Prime Ministry period.

Turkey attaches importance to opening diplomatic missions in all African countries, in order to enhance its relations with the Continent. While the number of our Embassies in Africa was only 12 in 2002, it increased to 43 in 2021.

African countries have shown their appreciation for Turkey's attachment to the Continent by increasing the number of their Embassies in Ankara to 37, which used to be 10 at the beginning of 2008.

Along with our Embassies, Turkey's activities in the Continent have become further prevalent with the help of our institutions such as the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), the Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (​​AFAD), Yunus Emre Institute, the Turkish Maarif Foundation, the Turkish Religious Foundation, Anadolu Agency and Turkish Airlines (THY).

One of the most concrete indicators of our strengthening relations is our developing economic ties and rapidly increasing trade figures. Our total trade volume with the African Continent has increased from 5,4 billion $ in 2003 to 25,3 billion $ in 2020. Our trade volume with Sub-Saharan African countries, which used to be 1,35 billion $ in 2003 has reached 10 billion $ in 2020. Despite the pandemic conditions of 2020, Turkey has managed to keep the trade volumes stable, which is a considerable success.

The volume of projects undertook by Turkish contracting companies rapidly expanded and reached 19,5 billion $ in Sub-Saharan African countries and 71,1 billion $ in the African Continent. Turkey has established joint Business Councils with 45 African countries and 40 Sub-Saharan African countries.

Turkey aims to increase the number of Turkish Airlines flights to Africa and facilitate interaction among business people in order to turn our country into an intersection point for the African people to access to the world and to strenghthen the ties between our people. Having reached 60 destinations in 39 countries before the pandemic, Turkish Airlines is gradually increasing its number of flights with the lifting of travel bans.

We continue our humanitarian and development aid activities in almost every corner of the Continent with the assistance of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Turkey, the General Directorate of Turkish Red Crescent and Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and our non-governmental organizations. Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) currently operates 22 Program Coordination Offices across Africa.

The scholarships provided by our country to African students is strengthening Turkey's African policy. So far, Turkey has awarded more than 14.000 African students graduate, post-graduate and doctorate scholarships since 1992.

Up untill today, 249 diplomats from the African countries have participated in "The International Junior Diplomats Training Program", which is being organized every year since 1992 by the Diplomacy Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey. Furthermore, our Diplomacy Academy organises training programs on diplomacy, archive and communication in order to develop capacity building and human resources, upon the requests received from the Foreign Ministries of the African countries.

Relations with the African Union

In addition to the bilateral relations of Turkey with the African countries, relations with the African Union (AU) is getting stronger. Turkey became an observer member of the AU in 2005 and was declared strategic partner of the Continent at the Summit held in 2008. The relations attained a sustainable mechanism at the First Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit in Istanbul, which was held on 18-21 August 2008.

Turkey and Africa have agreed to implement projects simultaneously in various fields along with the five-year schedule programme, which was adopted with "The 2015-2019 Joint Implementation Plan" at the Second Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit, held on 19-21 November 2014 in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea. In this context, projects developed according to the priorities of the African countries, in the fields of trade and investment, peace and security, education and culture, youth empowerment and technology transfer, rural economy and agriculture, energy and transportation have been implemented.

In addition, Turkey took the decision to carry out “Ministerial Review Conferences” with the AU, during the Summit meetings to be held every five years. The Second Turkey-African Union Ministerial Review Conference was held in Istanbul on 11-12 February 2018. The Conference constituted a good opportunity in addressing all aspects of Turkey-Africa Partnership.

We aim to host the Third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit in 2021, under the auspices of H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the President of the Republic of Turkey. We believe that the Summit will start a new stage in our relations with the AU and Continental countries.

The AU also aims to develop and enhance its relations and strategic partnership with our country, which is underlined in the 2063 Agenda: “The Africa We Want of the African Union”. Hence, Turkey and the AU attach importance to the AU 2063 Agenda, as well as the 2030 Agenda for “Sustainable Development of the United Nations” as the guiding frameworks to enhance their partnership, based on inclusive growth and sustainable development of the African countries.