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.
-Once regarded as the byword for ethnic conflict, disease and natural disaster, hardly a month goes by without a high level foreign visits for trade, construction and natural resource deals.
-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.
-Economic predictions indicate that Africa will be a 29 trillion USD economy in 2050, larger than the 2012 combined GDP of the US and Eurozone.
-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, in 2013, 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.
-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 of the Continent to increase dialogue, understanding and peace in the region.
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, the Ottoman Empire prevented colonial expansion in North Africa. Similarly, the Ottoman Empire, an African State, played a major role in preventing the penetration of colonialism in East Africa. 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.
-As a whole, Africa feels a particular admiration for Turkey’s war of independence. The reforms developed under the leadership of Atatürk set good example for leaders of certain African countries during the early periods of national independence.
-Historical relations with North and Northeast Africa have an exclusive place in the memories of our peoples.
-It wouldn’t be possible to understand the role Turkey is playing before thorough knowledge about its historical involvement in the continent and in East Africa in particular.
-In the lands where it was once present, the Ottoman Empire has built the infrastructure, water systems, bridges, madrasahs, mosques, hamams for the benefit of local peoples.
-It has not imposed its own culture on the local populations.
III. A NEW MOMENTUM-INSTITUTIONALIZATION of the RELATIONS
a) Milestones in Turkey’s Africa Policy
-Turkey’s opening policy 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. The Summit 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 framework of said follow-up mechanism, the “Second Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit” was held in 19-21 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.
Lastly, Turkey hosted High Level Parthership Forum for Somalia on 23-24 February 2016 in İstanbul.
b) II. Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit (2014)
-Second Summit was supposed to be held in 2013 in an African country. However, due to lack of convergence about time and date of the Summit, it could not be convened that year.
-In accordance with the decisions of the African Union it was held in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, in 19-21 November 2014.
-Since Africa was the host, invitations for the Malabo Summit were send by the African Union Commission in accordance with Banjul Formula which requires a representative participation in the Summits between African Union and one partner country. In total, it is 16 countries that participates in such Summits.
-In the case of Malabo Summit, host country, Equatorial Guinea, has also invited other African countries as observers to the Summit. Therefore there was a large representation. Almost 30 African countries were present at the Malabo Summit.
There was seven Presidents (Equatorial Guinea, Mauritania, Chad, Zimbabwe, Benin, Republic of Congo, Niger), two Vice Presidents (RSA, Burundi), 3 Prime Ministers (Algeria Gabon, Swaziland), and eleven Ministers (DRC, Kenya, Senegal, Sudan, Nigeria, Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Libya, Somalia, Morocco). Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr. Zuma was also present.
-The Summit was held under the theme of “A New Model of Partnership for the Strengthening of Sustainable Development and Integration”.
-The Summit started with the High Level Officials Meeting on November 19. It was followed by Ministerial Meeting on November 20. And on November 21, the Summit was held. The Summit adopted a Declaration and Joint Implementation Plan for the Period of 2015-2019.
-In accordance with the decision taken at the Summit, Third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit will be held in Turkey in 2019.
c) 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.
-Turkey has been making financial contribution of 1 million US Dollars to the African Union since 2009. Turkey also contributes to regional organizations when the need arise.
-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). Following the approval process, in January 2013, Turkey became 26th non-regional member of the Bank.
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).
d) Turkey’s G20 Presidency
-Turkey, under its G20 Presidency in 2015, organized events in line with the Africa’s “Agenda 2063”. In this regard, the High Level Conference on Access to Energy in Sub-Saharan Africa was held on 1 October 2015 for the first time under G20 framework.
IV.TURKEY-AFRICA BILETERAL DATA: A COMPERATIVE REVIEW
-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 countries (5 of them in North Africa). There is now 39. Turkey is planning to open an Embassy in Malabo (Equatorial Guinea) in accordance with the relevant decision of the Turkish Council of Ministers.
-It is not one sided. Today, a growing number of African Embassies are in Ankara. It reached 32 while it was merely around 10 five years ago. Guinea-Bissau, Cameroon, Tanzania and Mozambique are also planning to open Embassies in Ankara.
-This trend is a strong manifestation of the commitment of Turkey’s African partners to further develop our relations to the mutual benefit of our peoples.
-In line with the increase in diplomatic presence, Turkey has opened Commercial Consulates in 26 African capitals. In addition, Turkish Foreign Economic Relations Council established business councils with 19 Sub-Saharan African countries.
-Turkey have also signed Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreements with 38 African countries, in line with our efforts to establish a sound contractual basis for the mutual economic relations.
-Turkey’s bilateral trade volume with Africa has reached 17,5 billion USD in 2015. This is a three-fold increase in volume compared to the records of 2003. Trade volume with Sub-Saharan Africa was realized at 6 billion USD level in 2015. This indicates a drop in Turkey’s trade with the continent, in line with the decrease in global trade. Despite this fact, Turkey’s share in Africa’s total trade has remained the almost same.
-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 21 percent (share of North Africa is 19%). Turkish contractors so far have undertaken in Africa over 1.150 projects which worth 55 billion USD.
-There are ever growing Turkish investments, many being exemplary of their kind in a number of African countries that employ local labor force, use home-produced resources and export final products to third countries. In this regard, total Turkish investment in Africa is estimated to be around 6,2 billion USD.
-According to a report published in October 2015 (Finacial Times), Turkish investment in Africa creates the largest number of jobs in Africa (16.593 in 2014) compared to the other foreign direct investments in the continent.
-As an emerging donor country, Turkey is keen to share its development experience with the countries in need of help.
-Turkey’s approach is based on the combination of humanitarian and development assistance, with a holistic approach and without prioritizing either of the two.
-This approach supports capacity and institution building in all areas.
-Another element is the relevance of expertise and solutions offered by Turkey to the host country’s social and political environments, which draws on Turkey’s past and current challenges.
-This creates a sense of shared experience effect, which in turn leads to a more genuine partnership and facilitates communication.
-Turkey has become a leading country in humanitarian activities all over the continent.
-Turkish International Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) currently operates 15 (including the one in Hargeisa) Program Coordination Offices in Africa.
-Turkey has become the third-largest humanitarian donor in 2013 and 2014 in the world. Including the contribution of the Turkish NGOs in the fields of health, education, and capacity building, Turkey’s total development and humanitarian assistance, according to World Humanitarian Assistance Report, reached 3.3 billion US dollars in 2014.
-In 2014, Turkey disbursed 3.3 billion USD as official development assistance (ODA), which corresponds to 0.42 % of its GNI.
-In 2014, Turkey’s official development assistance to Africa was 383,3 million US Dollars. Sub-Saharan Africa’s share in this amount was at 153,6 USD level.
-Turkey has been providing substantial number of scholarships to African students. In the period between 1991-2014 total number of scholarships were 4380. The number of scholarships has been increased significantly in the last years. In this regard, Turkey provided 1239 scholarships for the education year of 2015-2016 for students from Africa. There is currently 5437 students in higher education and 116 visiting professors/research assistants from African countries.
-In addition to many technical training programmes undertaken by different Ministries and institutions, around 200 junior diplomats have attended to the “International Young Diplomats Training Programme” organized by the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 1992. In addition, the Academy organizes number of exclusive training programs for individual African countries (Somalia, Madagascar, South Sudan, Sudan, Kenya, Nigeria and Namibia).
-Turkey attaches 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 seven (MONUSCO/DRC, MINUSMA/Mali, MINUSCA/CAR, UNAMID/Darfur, UNMISS/South Sudan, UNOCI/Cote d’Ivoire and UNMIL/Liberia) of the existing nine peacekeeping missions in Africa.
-In addition Turkish National Police provides training in various fields to the personnel of its counterparts in African countries.
-Turkey has also been providing training to the military personnel from African countries. By the end of 2014, 2202 African trainees received in Turkey. The training programmes and the number of trainees have increased significantly in the recent years. In this regard, there were 570 trainees received in Turkey only in 2015.
Cooperation in Health Sector
-Health sector constitutes another important aspect of Turkey’s humanitarian assistance to African countries. Turkey has signed health cooperation agreements with around 20 African countries.
-Turkish doctors, between 2007-2010, 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 care in around 20 countries by the end of 2014. Over 280.000 Africans have undergone health screenings and operated 53.000 cataract patients)
-As an example, within the framework of “Africa Cataract Project” which has been implemented in 4 countries (Niger, Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan), in collaboration with a Turkish NGO, a total of 21.600 patients have been operated in last year only.
-In addition, Turkish government has been providing treatment for African patients who can not be treated in their own country. Turkey has so far treated over 1000 patients in accordance with the bileteral agreements as well as emergency humanitarian aid programme.
-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 (150-bed) in Nyala was built by TIKA. The hospital, which has been operational since February 2014, will be run for five years jointly with the Sudanese Ministry of Health. At the end of five years, management of the hospital will be handed over to Sudanese government.
-In Somalia, Turkey has built and equipped the biggest hospital in Mogadishu. The 200-bed Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Hospital (Digfer) has been officially opened by the President Erdoğan on 25th of January 2015 during his visit to Somalia.
-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.
-As an endorsement of Turkey’s humanitarian diplomacy which is also one of the basic tenets of Turkey’s Africa policy, the UN authorities decided to held the First World Humanitarian Summit in 2016 in Istanbul.
-Turkish Airlines has become major international airline connecting the continent to the world with a total number of flights to 48 destinations in 31 countries.
-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.
-Number of African tourist visiting Turkey increased almost fourfold during last eight years (2006:210 thousand; 2015:885 thousand).
-Turkey abolished visas for diplomatic passport holders with 17 African countries. African businessmen and tourists, travelling with Turkish airlines and holding a valid Schengen, the USA or the UK visa, can obtain their visas entry visas to Turkey at the Ataturk Airport in Istanbul.
-Yunus Emre Association has established Turkish Cultural Center in Khartoum. The Association is planning to open new centers in Pretoria, Djibouti, the Gambia and Niger.