Turkey and The African Union

African Union (AU)

Purpose of the Organization:

Ensuring political, social and economic integration in Africa, accelerating development, maintaining peace and stability, and adopting democracy and good governance principles


Foundation year:



Addis Ababa
(offices in Geneva, Vienna and Nairobi)

Commission Chairperson:

Moussa Faki Mahamat

African Union

Official website: au.int

Official twitter account: twitter.com/_AfricanUnion

Official website: africa.mfa.gov.tr

Member States:

Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, DR Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco*, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADC)**, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

* Morocco was re-accepted in 2017.

** Turkey does not recognize Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADC). Within the framework of the UN, our country advocates a righteous, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution through dialogue among the Parties and supports the efforts made for this purpose through the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General.

Turkey's Membership Status:

Observer Country (2005); Strategic Partner (2008)

History of the Organization

The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) laid its institutional foundation in 1963, in line with the principles of gaining independency and sovereignty of the African countries and ending colonialism in Africa. OAU was included in the Non-Aligned Group during the Cold War period and remained away from the struggle between the Eastern and Western Blocs. Following the Cold War, due to the political instability, economic problems and epidemics the conflicts in the Continent oriented OAU to become more effective. Named as the African Union (AU) in 2002, the organisation determined its new goals as ensuring political, social and economic integration, accelerating development, preserving peace and stability as well as adopting democracy and good governance principles.

As being the common platform where the African countries meet, the AU tries to find solutions and produce policies in accordance with the principle of "African solutions to African problems" for every problem encountered in the Continent.

Within the framework of ensuring to realize its objectives for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, Agenda 2063 was developed as a strategic framework for Africa’s long term socio-economic and integrative transformation. 2063 Agenda calls for greater collaboration and support for African led initiatives to ensure the achievement of the aspirations of African people.

Turkey's Relations with AU

Major Summits and Meetings in the recent period

- 18-21 August 2008: The Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit, Istanbul

- 14-15 December 2010: The Turkey-Africa Cooperation Joint Task Force Meeting and Senior Officials Meeting, Istanbul

- 16 December 2011: The First Turkey-Africa Partnership Ministerial Level Review Conference, Istanbul

- 19-21 November 2014: The Second Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea

- 2-3 November 2016: The First Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum, Istanbul

- 27-28 April 2017: The First Turkey-Africa Agriculture Ministers Meeting and Agribusiness Forum, Antalya

- 20-21 July 2017: The Congress on Health in Africa, Istanbul

- 19-21 October 2017: The Turkey-Africa Conference for Education Ministers, Istanbul

- 11-12 February 2018: The Second Turkey-Africa Partnership Ministerial Level Review Conference, Istanbul

- 10-11 October 2018: The Second Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum, Istanbul

- 8-9 October 2020: The Third Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum, organized as video-conference.

Turkey's relations with the AU remained limited in the period of 1963-2002. With the acceleration of our African Initiative Policy, Turkey has participated in the AU Summits as a guest country since 2002 and gained observer status in 2005. Turkey was declared as Africa's strategic partner by the AU in 2008.

The Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit was held in Istanbul in August 18-21, 2008. During the summit, "The Istanbul Declaration on Turkey-Africa Partnership: Cooperation and Solidarity for a Common Future” and “Cooperation Framework for Turkey-Africa Partnership” were adopted. In this context, intergovernmental cooperation, trade and investment, agriculture, trade in agricultural products, rural development, management of water resources, small and medium-sized enterprises, health, peace and security, infrastructure, energy, transport and telecommunications, culture, tourism and education, media, information and communication technology and environment were determined as primary areas for cooperation.

"The Turkey-Africa Business Forum", that was held simultaneously with the summit, enabled Turkey to introduce its economic opportunities to the African bureaucrats and business people.

Within the scope of constructing an integrated strategy based on the collaboration areas adopted at the Cooperation Summit, the Africa Strategy document was published in the Official Gazette dated 26 March 2010. The document defines the goal of Turkey’s Africa strategy in terms of enhancing partnership perspective with the African countries and AU through considering their specific features.

As part of the monitoring mechanism adopted at the Cooperation Summit, “The First Turkey-Africa Senior Officials Meeting” was held on the 15th of December 2010 in Istanbul. The meeting concluded with a Joint Press Statement and "Turkey-Africa Partnership Joint Implementation Plan: 2010-2014”.

As a monitoring mechanism to assess the progress made in the Turkey-Africa partnership and give direction to the works in the coming period, the “First Turkey-Africa Partnership Ministerial Level Review Conference” wa held in Istanbul on December 15-16, 2011 and a Communique was published at the end of the conference. The Conference affirmed that the Turkey-Africa partnership progresses on a reliable base with the strong mutual will of the the Parties.

The “Second Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit” was held on November 19-21, 2014 in Malabo. The theme was: "A New Model of Partnership to Enhance a Sustainable Development and Integration". The outcome of the Summit was the Declaration and Joint Implementation Plan for the Period of 2015-2019. These documents confirmed the decision to organise the next summit in Turkey.

After the Summit, the "Implementation Plan: 2015-2019" was reviewed at the Senior Officials Meeting which was held in Ankara on the 19th of March 2015 and a Priority Projects List, involving projects to be implemented in line with the recent needs of Africa was adopted.

Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum was hosted by the Ministry of Trade of the Republic of Turkey, Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) and Turkey Exporters Assembly (TIM) in cooperation with the AU on November 2-3, 2016 in Istanbul, with the participation of the Ministers responsible for the economy and foreign trade of African countries, Secretary Generals/Heads of regional economic organizations and business people.

The Forum was part of the Priority Projects List adopted by the AU and Idriss Deby Itno, the AU Chairperson of 2016 and President of Chad, Patrice Trovoada, the Prime Minister of São Tomé and Príncipe as well as 27 Ministers and 7 Deputy Ministers from 41 African countries and 4 Secretary Generals/Commissioners from four regional economic organizations participated. In addition, 1.257 business people from 46 African countries, 729 business people from Turkey and 159 press members attended the Forum.

The second event in the Priority Projects List "The First Turkey-Africa Agriculture Ministers Meeting and Agribusiness Forum" was held in Antalya, on 27-28 April 2017. The Forum was hosted by the Ministry of Food Agriculture and Livestock of the Republic of Turkey and DEIK, and was inaugurated by Mr. Binali Yıldırım, the former Prime Minister. Approximately 1.500 people, along with the AU Chairperson of 2017 Prof. Alpha Condé, President of Guinea, and the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia Mohammed Abdullahi Muhammed, 45 Ministers, 14 Deputy Ministers, 21 Ambassadors, 19 representatives of the international organizations from 49 countries, including Turkish and African business people attended the Forum.

The Second Review Conference, which is held every five years during the summit, was organized in Istanbul on 11-12 February 2018. The Conference enabled a good opportunity in addressing all aspects of Turkey-Africa Partnership.

The Second Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum was held on 10-11 October 2018 in Istanbul. The President of Ethiopia, invited as a guest of honor, the AU Chairperson of 2018 and Prime Minister of the Republic of Rwanda, the Commissioners for Economic Affairs of the African Union Commission and Industry and Private Sector of the ECOWAS Commission participated in the Forum along with 26 Ministers, 4 Deputy Ministers, Members of the Parliaments and Undersecretaries from 43 African countries, including 245 official delegation members. A total of 1.800 business people, including 850 Africans from 42 African countries and 950 representatives of the private sector from Turkey participated in the programme.

As a strategic partner, our annual monetary contribution to the AU is transferred regularly.

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.

The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which was signed in January 2018 and came into force as of the 1st of January 2021 is considered as the most emblematic flagship project of the 2063 Agenda and an important milestone for the continent.

Turkey believes the AfCFTA will provide broader cooperation and bring along better opportunities for more than 1 billion people across 54 countries with a combined GDP of more than 3.4 trillion $.

Turkey attaches importance to maintaining active relations with the AU, despite the coronavirus pandemic conditions. As an example to this, the Third Turkey-Africa Economic and Business Forum was organized online by the Ministry of Trade of the Republic of Turkey and DEIK in collaboration with the African Union Commission on October 8-9, 2020.

The Forum, which was launched with the openning speech of the President of the Republic of Turkey H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was attended by 2.500 participants from Turkey and 71 countries (46 African countries). Moreover, 43 high-level speakers, 22 Ministers, 4 Deputy Ministers and Representatives of African Regional Economic Committees from 26 African countries were among the participants.

The Third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit, planned to be held in 2021 under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Turkey H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is expected to start a new stage in our relations with the AU and Continental countries.