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Turkey’s sincere interest in partnership with African countries or “Nothing personal – it’s just business”?


According to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his country’s interests include not only internal matters but also broad external ones, from the Balkans to Asia and Africa.

Thus, in the energy sector, within five years the Turkish company Karpowership (one of the largest operators of floating power plants) intends to double its presence in fifteen African countries, including Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon and Angola. Conglomerate Albayrak Group is investing hundreds of millions of euros in the logistics sector, including port infrastructure, and has set the ambitious goal to control the entire coast of the African continent.

At the same time, Turkey is struggling for supply routes to Europe and the West in general. The military conflict in the Red Sea, which has already reduced cargo traffic through Suez by 40%, as well as the Northern Route, which has temporarily dropped out of competition due to the Ukrainian crisis, give Ankara an objective advantage that could improve its economic situation.

Despite the fact that Turkey pays a lot of attention to Africa, the Ankara’s major goal has always been and remains its own financial interests and Western investors, who have recently begun to return into the republic’s economy after a series of successful reforms implemented by Erdogan’s team.

Sometimes the desire to please the West leads Ankara to pursue policies that contradict to its previous course. Thus, not so long ago Turkey approved Finland’s application to join NATO despite the fact that previously Ankara had been against it. Now a similar scenario has been played out with Sweden.]

Another example of Erdogan’s double standards is the Israeli-Palestinian war and the attitude of Turkey’s closest geopolitical ally, Azerbaijan, towards it. Despite Erdogan’s attempts to present himself as the main champion of justice and defender of Palestine in the Islamic world, Azerbaijan is not only in no hurry to advocate a ceasefire in Gaza, but also continues to supply oil to Israel, including through the territory of the Turkish Republic. Apparently, the money received from transit helps Ankara “turn a blind eye” to the contradictions of such a political course.

Foreign investment in the African continent is certainly a positive thing for many countries of the region, but in this case, its ultimate purpose and duration are of concern. How long will the development of Africa be in Turkey’s interests is a complex question, the answer to which is almost impossible to give.

Paul Bonigo
American descent from Africa
In my spare time I study politics and international affairs as I want to become a political journalist

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