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AFRİKA DERGİSİ

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Takvim

Yusuf İbrahim Gamawa

Yusuf İbrahim Gamawa
nijeryaenstitüsü@afsam.org
TURKEY-AFRICA RELATIONS
17/02/2013
TURKEY-AFRICA RELATIONS  

YUSUF IBRAHIM GAMAWA

Nijerya Araştırmaları Enstitüsü Başkanı -İstanbul

nijeryaenstitüsü@afsam.org

JANUARY 2013

ABSTRACT

The Continent of Africa had been  of great importance to many Countries outside Africa, Since the begining of the slave trade when European slave merchants invaded Africa and estalished trade in human beings, which forced migration of millions of Africans to America and the West Indies to work in Plantations. Since then, the Continent had faced a continued influx of people for different purposes even after the abolution of slavery, first was Christian Missionary activities, then Colonialism by the British, and even after independence, the Continent remains highly populated by foreigner and thier economic and social instruments. The main attaraction in Africa, has been its human resources and rich mineral resources scattered across the continent, as well as its vast market for foreign goods. This paper examines the relations between the republic of Turkey and countries of the African Continent, especially in 1990’s and 2000’s when the republic of Turkey began to develop interest to have relation with African countries. There were so many reasons that motivated and ignited the interest of Turkey in Africa all of sudden, and this paper tried to present such reasons and also how the republic of Turkey tried to establish such relations, the manner in which Turkey went about realising this objective of having deep economic, political and social relation with countries of the African Continent. The paper also tried to look at relations between Ottoman Turkey and Africa, though as a background to the present relations.It tried also to see what challenges there are in this relations, in the future or now, and also tried as much as possible to look at some policy suggestions regarding this symbiotic relation between Turkey and African countries.

KEY WORDS: TURKEY, AFRICA, PAN-AFRICANISM.               

 

 

INTRODUCTION

The continent of Africa has witnessed influx of different people from different countries in the past several centuries, and from continents outside Africa.The continious interest in the continent may have come about as a result of several reasons. The continent first saw the coming of the Europeans around the 15th Century, during the transatlantic slave trade era, during which millions of Africans were forcefully taken to Europe and America to work in the plantation in the West Indies and which resulted today in the emergence African American population in the US and other countries of Europe. After the abolution of the slave trade and the subsequent intriduction of legitimate trade, the European resumed their presence in Africa, first through Cnristian missionary activities and the European civilising mission in Africa, which had been dismissed by many scholars as a camouflage of the imperial profit and motive, and this was followed by the introduction of trade and commerce with the African people.Another significant event in the history of African relations with countries and people outside the African continent was the Berlin Conference, it was at the conference that the continent of Africa was partitioned between some European countries as colonies. This marked the begining of colonial conquest in Africa and the eventual establishment of colonial and the native authority system of administration throughout Africa by the British, French, Portuguese, Germans as well as the Italian, who divided the continent among themselves. The entire continent was subjugated into adopting the new system with brute force, with it the entire framework of the traditional African societies and kingdoms was broken down, and a new imperial system of production was thus introduced.New methods of agriculture, and new crops were introduced with free African labour, an export oriented economy was established to feed throughout Africa and was meant to feed the newly founded industries across Europe, which had emerged as a result of the industrial revolution ,particularly in England in the 1700’s with raw materials. This remained the basis of the relation between the Western colonial powers and Africa throughout the period of colonial rule, and what followed afterwards, was the gradual assimilation of the continent into the global imperialistic capitalist economy even afterAfrican nations had attained independence, the newly emerging states found themselves trapped in this system of global economic exploitation, and the never ending natural destiny of dependence on Western industrilised nations for technical assistance and socio-economic development of the continent which has remained illussive despite all the resources and pottential present in the continent. The relationship till today has remained one that is marked by incommensurate development of the continent and the exploitation of its resources and peoples. Although many argued that the African had benefited from their relation with the Western nations, which the claim is seen in the modernisation of their societies and interms of western education, as against the primitive African societies that existed in the past. But many scholars also argued that it was European incursion into Africa that interrupted the indegenous natural process of the development of the Africans in all areas and even education, as a result of the contact with Islam on the continent, which led the founding of Islamic madrasas in many parts of Africa. This indegenous development process of Africa is evidenced by archaelogical findings in the form of the existence of traditional technology, in traditional medicines, development of tools, and of iron ore local industries in Africa even in those times, is sufficient to support the natural development process of Africa. The exploitation of Africa continued till today, though in a very sophisticated and unpredictable manner, that today it is difficult to point out a particular way in which the continent is being sabotaged, but yet neo-colonialism is a phenomenum that is real in Africa, and it means the continious manipulation and mangement of the African economy and its growth by the Western industrialised capitalist nations and their cronnies, in league with indegenous Africans who act as intermedairies to this exploitative and manipulative system that is against the growth and development of Africa. The Western nations succeeded in creating a very vast market for the goods produced in their various countries, and thus turned Africa into a dumping ground for their manufactured goods and created an array services in the banking, insurance and communication sectors of the African economy which remains squarely under their control, and which has continued to attract other lesser developed nations to participate in the same venture. The result is that today Africa has become a market not only to the Western industrialised nations,but to many emerging economies in Asia and other parts of the world such as China, Japan, India, South korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Israel and a host of others. And many other countries are seeking opportunities to come into Africa, and still strategising on how to tap from the vast resources of the continent. So today if Turkey is reaching to Africa, it is because of the huge market pottential as well as for its enormous mineral resources, including it oil and gas deposits that is scattered across the continent. Turkey’s Africa policy is designed to deepen relations for maximum benefit, and it remains and opportunity for Turkey to prove to Africa the genuineness of its Africa policy, different from what the continent had experienced in the past with other countries.     HISTORICAL BACKGOUND OF THE REPUBLIC OF TURKEY:

 

 

 

 The land mass occupied by the Asian part of the Republic of Turkey, east of the Sea of Marmara, is known as Anatolia. The region was inhabited by anadvanced Neolithic cullture as early as the seventh millennium B.C., and metal instruments were in use by 2500 B.C. Late in the third millennium B.C., the warrior Hittites invaded Anatolia and established an empire that made significant economic and administrative advancements. In about 1200 B.C., the Phrygians overthrew the Hittites in western Anatolia, where a Phrygian kingdom  then ruled until the seventh century B.C. That kingdom was succeeded by a Lydian kingdom, which in turn was conquered by the Persians in 546 B.C. Meanwhile, beginning in about 1050 B.C., Ionian Greeks began founding cities along the Aegean coast of Anatolia, and in the eighth century B.C., peoples such as the Armenians and the Kurds moved into eastern Anatolia. In the late fourth century B.C., Alexander the Great of Macedonia conquered all of Anatolia. One of the city-states that Alexander founded, Pergamum, became a unique center of wealth and culture[1].

In 133 B.C., Pergamum became the center of a Roman province and remained a cultural center  for several centuries. In 330 A.D., the Roman emperor Constantine established the capital of the Greek-speaking half of his empire at Byzantium, on the Sea of Marmara. The city was renamed Constantinople, and the eastern half of the Roman Empire became known as the Byzantine Empire. With its center in Anatolia, the Byzantine Empire remained a powerful entity until the eleventh century. The Patriarchiate of Constantinople, established in the fourth century, represented the Greek-speaking Roman Empire in the Christian church.

Turkish tribes began to migrate westward from China and Central Asia in the seventh century  A.D. In 1071 Seljuk Turkish forces defeated a Byzantine army at Manzikert and then occupied all of Anatolia. In the next few centuries, several Seljuk states were established. Gazi warriors,tribal horsemen charged with defending the Seljuk frontier, pushed relentlessly westward, and  Seljuk governments eventually followed. In 1097 the Christian world responded to this movement with the first in a series of religiously inspired military crusades, which reclaimed part of Anatolia. However, in the next two centuries what was left of the Byzantine Empire fragmented. In the fourteenth century, a new power, the Osmanli Dynasty, came to dominate Anatolia.

The Ottoman Empire: Troops of the Osmanli Dynasty, which gave its name to the Ottoman Empire, moved rapidly into southeastern Europe, defeating Serbian forces at the battle of Kosovo in 1389. Although they were temporarily halted when the Mongol forces of Timur occupied part of Anatolia in the early fifteenth century, in 1453 Ottoman forces captured Constantinople, the last outpost of the Byzantine Empire[2]. The Ottomans renamed Constantinople Istanbul and made it the capital of a new empire and the seat of Sunni Islam as well as Greek Orthodoxy. Under Süleyman the Magnificent (r. 1520–66), the empire expanded across North Africa to Morocco, farther into southeastern Europe, and across the s the Middle Eastern regions of Kurdistan and Mesopotamia. However, after Süleyman’s death the empire began showing signs  of decay. The Ottoman navy lost the key Battle of Lepanto to Spanish and Portuguese forces in 1571, and succession struggles shook Istanbul.

Under the leadership of the Köprülü family, the empire made its final push into Europe in the seventeenth century. The siege of Vienna, which was lifted in 1683, marked the farthest extent of Ottoman penetration into Europe. In the years that followed, a multinational European force  drove Ottoman troops southward and eastward, forcing the empire to cede substantial territory in Europe in the Treaty of Karlowicz (1699). In the early eighteenth century, Russian Tsar Peter expense of the Ottoman Empire. During the next two centuries, Russia fought several wars to diminish Ottoman power. In 1774 the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kaynarja gained Russian ships access to Ottoman waterways. By the nineteenth century, the Ottoman Empire had become known as “the sick man of Europe.” The decay of its vast holdings and the nationalist forces that were unleashed in the empire were central issues for all European governments[3].

In 1832 the European powers forced the Ottoman government to recognize Greek independence  after a decade-long Greek guerrilla war. However, Europe also recognized the need to avoid the complete destruction of the empire. In the Crimean War of 1854–56, France and Britain sided  with the Ottoman Empire against Russia, which lost the war and ceded some of its power in southeastern Europe. In 1878 the Treaty of Berlin established the independent states of Bulgaria, Romania, and Serbia from former Ottoman territory. In the same period, Britain took possession of Cyprus and Egypt, and France occupied Algeria and Tunisia, further diminishing Ottoman holdings.

Internal conditions also deteriorated in the nineteenth century. Under pressure from the West, between 1839 and 1876 the Ottoman government undertook a series of reforms, collectively known as Tanzimat. Dissatisfaction with reforms stimulated the Young Ottoman movement, which sought Western-style reforms, including secular government and closer relations with Europe. However, in the late 1870s Sultan Abdül Hamid II stifled the reform movement and established a repressive regime. Meanwhile, the empire’s financial and geopolitical positions worsened.

  In the early 1900s, reformist groups remained active under the repression of Abdül Hamid II. In 1907 the Committee of Union and Progress, better known as the Young Turks, united under military officer Mustafa Kemal, who later took the name Atatürk, “father of the Turks.” Between 1909 and 1912, European powers took advantage of a weak Ottoman government to occupy or liberate most of the empire’s remaining territory in southeastern Europe. In 1912 the First Balkan War deprived the empire of territory in Macedonia and Thrace. In 1913 these losses led to the overthrow of the government by Enver Pasha, who headed a dictatorial regime of Young Turks during the ensuing war period. The empire regained some European territory during the Second Balkan War of 1913[4].

When World War I broke out in Europe in 1914, Enver Pasha’s alliance with Germany caused Britain, France, and Russia to declare war on the Ottoman Empire. In early 1915, mass deportation of the Armenian population led to the death of as many as 1 million Armenians, an event that remains controversial nearly 100 years later. Atatürk defeated a British amphibious landing at Gallipoli on the Dardanelles later that year. However, in 1916 a successful British campaign cut through the empire’s Arab territory, capturing Damascus in 1918. After the empire had suffered numerous defeats, a provisional Ottoman government sued for peace with the Allies.

The Republic of Turkey: After World War I, the provisional government retained control over very little of the former empire. Atatürk led strong nationalist forces seeking to retain Anatolia. In 1921 the nationalists elected Atatürk president of a new government, the Grand National Assembly. In 1922 Atatürk’s army repulsed an invading Greek force seeking to expand Greece’spostwar allotment of Ottoman territory. The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, negotiated between the Atatürk  government and the Allies, defined control of the Bosporus and the territorial extent of the new Republic of Turkey. Atatürk’s reform programme, which became known as Kemalism, aimed at establishing a secular, Europe-oriented state. European name forms and dress styles were encouraged, and the Latin alphabet was adopted. All links between Islam and the state were cut. In 1924 a new constitution guaranteed basic civil rights and prescribed a parliamentary form of government in which the Grand National Assembly would elect the president. Only one party, Atatürk’s Republican People’s Party, existed, giving the president control of all phases of government. In the 1920s and 1930s, Turkey cautiously sought relations with as many countries as possible, including African countries[5].

      

  LAND AND PEOPLE  OF AFRICA

The assumption that traditional African society were backward, is far from truth. Sophisticated kingdoms and empires existed such as Kanem Borno, Zulu, Songhai, Mali, Ghana, Sudan, Oyo, Benin, Asante, Dahomey Hausa states, Luba, Lunda states, Ethiopia and Benin. Smaller city states also developed, often linked to trade, such as Lamu, Malindi, Mombasa and Mwene Mutupa. These societies were well structured with organised and functioning systems of governance. Armies served to protect and expand their realms of influence and control over Access and management of resources[6].Africa is the world’s second largest continent and also the second most populated continent in the world.  The population of Africa is over 900 million people making up 14% of the planet’s population.  Among the 50 independent African countries there are vast population differences. Nigeria, for example is populated by 150 million people while Niger and Namibia are much more sparsely populated with populations below 5 million persons.  As well population differences Africa is comprised of a wide range of environments. Vast expanses of arid and potentially hostile and life threatening deserts,  massive areas of tropical rainforests, savanna grasslands teeming with animal life, huge areas of treacherous swampland, home to tropical diseases such as malaria and snow capped mountains such as Mount Kilmanjaro in Kenya. The actual geographical size of the African continent is able to encompass the entire land mass of the USA, China, India and Argentina which in themselves are huge countries in their own right.   The continent of Africa is covers a geographical area of 11.6 million square miles and the journey down from the north to the southern most point is about 5,500 miles. The Sahara Desert lies in Africa.  This is the world’s largest desert, and from its Western fringes on the Atlantic Ocean, all of the way to China.   The Sahara Desert itself covers an area which crosses the borders of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Sudan.  The actual distance between the western edge of this desert on the Atlantic Ocean and its eastern fringe along the Red Sea coast is 5,700 km’s and covers an area of 8.6 million square kilometers taking in parts of the stunning Atlas Mountain range and the Sudanese Sahel region[7]. 

The physical environment of the Sahara Desert is extremely harsh. The average annual rainfall is below  25 cm’s and during the daytime temperatures can rise to as much as 58 degrees Celsius in the shade.Temperatures during the day and night  vary considerably  and after sunset can become very cold.  Many types of flora and fauna can be found in this harsh desert environment as well as vast quantities of oil and salt which for many centuries played a major role in the development of a viable transSaharan trade network. At one time a kilo of salt could purchase its same weight in gold dust.  Today in the Sahara Desert, Libya accesses another valuable harvest. Sub-soil water which is then pumped to its many cities and towns.  This represents a new and desperately important harvest where water is becoming an extremely precious commodity and valuable natural resource.

Africa’s raised rock plateau was formed sometime between 3,600 million years and 500 million years  ago.  When this time scale is placed against the historical fact that forest agriculture in Africa is around 15,000 years old, one is made to realize how relatively modern our own history upon planet earth is. The continent of Africa is extremely rich in minerals and some of its mines are thousands of years old but the agricultural soil in many of its regions is very poor.  This has meant that African farmers have had to be very inventive in working this hostile environment in order to grow sufficient crops to feed and maintain local communities.  The rock structures in Africa differ from other continents, such as Asia which is dominated by the Himalayan mountain range because very few of these prehistoric rock structures folded into mountain ranges.  Africa’s existing climate would have been totally different if a chain of mountains ran the length and breadth of the continent.  It is estimated that between 23 million years and 5 million years ago a series of faulting and volcanic eruptions occurred in East Africa which led to the formation of rift valleys and highland areas which in turn caused a disruption of the lateral climate belts and the creation of very different historical patterns for West and east Africa.  They are seen as being very separate and set apart from one another in both a  geographical and historical perspective[8].

Commencing at the equator, bands of temperature run north and south across the African continent. Large expanses of equatorial rain forest on both sides of the equator dominate the landscape.  Eventually this forest area thins out and merges into savanna grassland which then form extensive desert regions but along both the north and south coastal strips there exists a Mediterranean type climate. Africa’s coastal northern strip is bordered and linked  directly to the Mediterranean Sea.  Historically, this whole region is linked to the various Ancient Egyptian dynasties, the Phoenician city-state of Carthage and the Greek and Roman empires.  South of this region lies the Sahara Desert which covers an area from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean across to the Red sea.  The east to west zone south of the Sahara Desert is comprised of many diverse environments.  There are semi arid regions in the north lying next to the Sahara while much further to the east in Ethiopia there are fertile highland and green valleys while on both the east and west coastal areas are treacherous disease ridden swampland.  Located within this region, south of the Sahara, the medieval kingdoms and empires such as Mali, Bornu and Songhai were located as well as the gold mines of Wangara which played such a vital and important role in the trans-Saharan trade routes.  From early on in the 15th century through till the 19th century the African west coast provided the trading posts for European slavers and companies who amassed vast profits from the trans-Atlantic slave trade and through other commodities such as gold.  This trade was one of the catalysts which helped to change the agricultural and industrial landscape of the United Kingdom. Slaves shipped across the Atlantic from these trading posts also provided the indentured workforce for plantations in the Americas for a number of centuries and profits accumulated from these brutal regimes still help to shape contemporary American politics.  Also it is in Africa that some of the causes for the two world wars of the 20th century can be found, leading to the death of millions of people.  Colonial rivalry between England and Germany prior to the First World War was one of the causes of this conflict.  The peace treaty signed at Versailles at the close of the First World War sowed the seeds for the rise to power in Germany of Hitler and the Nazi party in the 1930’s[9].

The equatorial rainforest of the Congo covers an area from Africa’s west coast to the Mountains of the Moon and on to the Great Lakes in the east. Within these forests there are great apes such as gorillas which as a result of poaching and illegal logging have become endangered  species.  Pigmy people also live within this environment and they represent one of the oldest surviving groups of African people.  The equatorial rainforest also acts as a physical barrier diving the east of Africa from its western half and the northern region from the southern region.  The remaining area of Africa is L-shaped and covers a low altitude coastal region linked to a massive interior plateau which flattens out between 3000 ft and 5000 ft above sea level and in this region a multitude of varying climatic conditions exist.

Monsoon winds dominate the east coast of Africa.  During the first half of the year they blow in a southerly direction and in the second half switch to a northerly direction.  It is along this eastern shoreline that the oldest remains relating to early man have been found though recently in September 2009 it was announced that archaeological remains of early man had been found in Georgia so this period of man’s evolution is being constantly rewritten and revised.  This coastline faces the Arabian peninsular and the countries of India, Indonesia and China.  Large primeval ferns called cycads, a plant similar to ferns which once grew in large ancient forests can be found as well as the enormous baobab tree whose trunk has a diameter of over 100 ft. Branches of this tree grow at the top of a baobab tree’s trunk and then fade to nothing.  This tree is a survivor and relic of these ancient primeval forests and can have a natural life span of over 1000 years.[10]

 

  BACKGROUND OF TURKEY- AFRICA RELATIONS

There are basically two distinct Turkish conception of Africa, based on geographical divide; North Africa and Sub- Saharan Africa. However both conceptions have been shaped in the Turkish psyche by historical developments, mainly from Ottoman times, and this has been articulated in classical Turkish foreign policy towards the continent. Turkey has had strong relations with North Africa, as it was part of the Ottoman state, dating back to the 15th and 16th Centuries, while relations with sub-Saharan Africa is more of a recent development, begining from the 19th Century. North Africa and their close historical connection with the Ottomans, which created an understanding that it is part of the Turkish periphery, is also seen to be part of the broader Middle East, which Turkey feels very close. Whereas Sub- Saharan Africa is usually viewed as far away land, full of problem, hunger, diseases and civil wars.

Turkey’s relations with Africa can be divided into three periods, the first can be regarded as the Ottoman empire relations with Africa until the establishment of the republic in 1923, and between 1923 and 1998, when relations between Turkey and Africa seemed to be non existent, and after 1998, when Turkey’s interest in Africa became gradually revived, and in 2005, Turkey declared the year as the year of Africa. In 2008, the first ever Turkey- Africa Cooperation Summit was held in Istanbul, with the participation of representatives from 51 African Countries. The old Ottoman empire had relations with North African states like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria, which were partially or totally included in the Ottoman state, states such as Sudan, Eriteria, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia,  Niger and Chad inclusive. The Ottoman’s were also part of the balance of power system, having friendship and a defence pact with the Kanem Borno empire, which prevailed in todays northern Nigeria, Niger and Chad. The defense pact was signed in 1575, during the reign of Sultan Murad III, consequent upon which military equipment and defense officials were despatched to Kanem Borno to help the Mai’s army in accordance with the defense pact between the two great empires. In 1849, the Ottoman sent a special envoy to Lagos when its first mosque was built. Confering on the community leader the title of “BEY”, whose family is stil playing an important role in social and political life of Nigeria, the Shitta Bey family are still well known in Nigeria.

The Ottoman state had diplomatic representation in South Africa since 1861. The Ottomans sent Imams to Muslims of the Cape of Good Hope in 1863, upon the request of the community,  resulting into a strong relationship between the Muslims of the Cape of Good Hope and the Ottoman state. After the founding of the Turkish republic in 1923, Turkey- Africa relations witnessed tremendous decline, arising mainly from internal problems from within Turkey, and also within the African Continent, which at this time was going through the painful period of Colonial rule. Although during the cold war period, Turkey began to consider its relations to Africa with importance, and began establishing links with the North African Countries economically and politically. However, these relations were shaped by the conditions of the cold war bipolarity, and thus were at odds with the historical public sentiment toward the continent. At Ghana’s independence in 1957, Turkey recognised Ghana and opened an Embassy, and subsequently recognised all newly independent states, established diplomatic relations and opened Embassies in many of them. However this was not seen as a long term significant relationship and Turkey was not involved in African Affairs[11].

TURKEY AND AFRICA TODAY

In 1998, the republic of Turkey came up with its “opening up to Africa policy”. And in 2005, Turkey declared the year as “The Year of Africa”, which was followed by the Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit held in Istanbul in 2008, which proved to be a very important stage in the history of Turkey – Africa relations. At this Summit “The Istanbul Declaration on Turkey- Africa Partnership: Cooperation and Solidarity for a Common Future” and “ Cooperation framework for Turkey- Africa Partnership” were unanimously accepted. 49 countries participated in the summit, including 6 Presidents, 5 Vice Presidents, 7 Prime Ministers, 12 Ministers, 11 International and Regional Organisation representatives including the African Union. These African countries at the end of the summit declared the republic of Turkey as “a strategic partner”. Since then, Turkey attached great importance to the development of bilateral relations and rapproachment with African countries, and the establishment of new diplomatic missions in African countries which it hitherto had no relations with, paying mutual visits, having contacts at all levels, creating cooperation mechanisms and signing necessary Agreements. Turkey increased the number of its missions and opened new embassies in Tanzania, Ivory Coast, in 2009.  Cameroun, Mali, Ghana, Uganda, Angola and Madagascar in 2010. While Zambia, mozambique, Mauritania, Zimbabwe, Somali, Gambia and South Sudan were opened in 2011. Niger, Namibia, Burkinna fasso and Gabon were opened in 2012, bringing Turkey’s mission in the African Continent to a total of 31. In recent years, reciprocal high level visits have been made between Turkey and African countries. Turkey’s President,  Abdullah Gul paid visits to the African countries of Ghana and Gabon in 2011, Kenya and Tanzania in 2009, Congo, Cameroun and Nigeria in 2010. Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey paid visits to Ethiopia, Sudan, Somali and South Africa. And on the other hand African Heads of States and Presidents of Chad, Somali, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Mauritania and Djibouti also visited the republic of Turkey[12] as a result of Turkey’s first step in establishing relations with countries of the African continent. The first overseas visit of 2013 by Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was to the three Francophone West African countries of Gabon, Niger, and Senegal. He was accompanied by 250 businessmen. Gabon has oil resources, while Niger is an important source of uranium. Turkey has begun building its first nuclear reactor and plans to build two more by 2023. According to Ali Engin Oba, a former Turkish ambassador in Africa: "Certain groups in Africa are already showing efforts to break away from the influence of the big colonizing powers. Those groups are aware of France's economic problems and could guess that France would not continue its former level of interest in Africa because of those problems. So, they are trying to develop relations with powers that may want to develop economic, social and cultural solidarity with them, including Turkey.[13]"  TURKEY’S NEW FOREIGN POLICY AND AFRICA

 

 

In discussing Turkish foreign policy, geographical location must be taken into consideration. Turkey is located at the crossroad of three different continents of Asia, Europe and Africa, and has as a result interacted with people from the three different continents. Africa is a huge continent with rich natural resources, vast agricultural arable land and human resources. There are 53 countries in Africa, and about 12% of the world population live on the African continent. Production of good and services in the continent is 3.3% in2010, Africa’s population is expected to be more than 1 billion, which would represent 15.3% of the world’s population. The economic growth rates in Africa in 1996 and 1998 had consecutively been 5.9% and 3.4% representing more than that of the world’s average growth rates. Africa is very rich in natural resources, and there is need for the natural resources of the country to be exploited, it is a huge market for traders and contractors to do bussiness and invest. Many countries have strong foothold in Africa, Turkey is not among these countries. Africa is considered to be the continent of the future as indicated by the statistical figures above.[14] The Americans, British, Germans, French, Italians, Chinese, Japanese and many others are going to Africa, and there is strong competition for control and influence among these powers. But despite all these, there is still a place for Turkey in most African countries to establish new contacts and coperations as well as to further and develop all kinds of existing Bilateral relationships for mutual interest. Turkey with its big pottential for development has many things to share with friendly foreign nations. The model and level of Turkey’s industrial development is more suitable for the economic development of African countries. Statistics on trade between Turkey and African states shows that Turkey’s exports to Africa rose from 748 Million dollars in 1990, to 1.8 Billion in 1998, while its import rose from 800 Million USD IN 1990,  to 1.7 Billion USD IN 1998. Exports increased by 115%, and imports by 104%[15]. The African import market has a volume of 134 Billion in 1998, and Turkey’s share was only 1.8 Billion or 1.4%, in order for Turkey to make sustained efforts to improve its trade transaction and economic cooperation, Turkey must have more developed relations with African countries. And as a result, to achieve this, the government of Turkey decided to implement a new plicy of openning up to Africa, to overcome the difficulty and obstacles in promoting its relations with Africa, and an action plan was prepared to implement this policy.[16]

POLITICAL MEASURES OF THE ACTION PLAN

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