Yusuf İbrahim Gamawa
YUSUF IBRAHIM GAMAWA
Nijerya Araştırmaları Enstitüsü Başkanı -İstanbul
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.