‘Turkey’s diplomatic, humanitarian ties with Africa geared up in 2002’


Turkey’s diplomatic as well as humanitarian relations gained momentum after the year 2002, Nur Sağman, the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s top official for Africa, said.

“Turkey has a long history of relations with Africa, but diplomatically, there has been an increase in momentum since 2002. Today, Turkey has 43 embassies in Africa. This number will rise to 44 soon,” Sağman told Anadolu Agency (AA), underlining that this approach is not one-sided. “Africa has the same sentiment.”

“Now, 37 African countries have embassies in Turkey. This number will increase to 38 soon; another embassy will be opened in Togo. Of course, we should not consider these events solely from a diplomatic standpoint,” she added.

Among Ankara’s corporations and institutions active in the African continent are the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), the Maarif Foundation, the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) and Turkish Airlines (THY), the country’s flag carrier.

Saying that Turkey is wholeheartedly invested in the African continent, Sağman said Ankara works as a team. “We open embassies there, followed by our consultancies and embassies’ economic and commercial affairs offices. Flights of THY, schools of the Maarif Foundation and scholarships provided by the Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB) are in addition to those. We have provided scholarships to 14,000 students from Africa to date – and I didn’t even point out the private sector.”

“Along with bilateral cooperation, Turkey has substantial corporate cooperation with African countries. We recently held the Africa Partnership Summit. Despite the pandemic conditions, there was a large turnout. A total of 16 heads of state and government, and a hundred ministers – 25 of them foreign ministers – have arrived. African countries were particularly interested. This clarified our business relationships and strategic alliance,” Sağman said, indicating that Turkey and Africa have set their agenda for 2026.

‘rising together’

She underlined that Turkey is “engaging with every African country” and that Ankara believes African resources should be used to benefit Africans in a win-win situation. Turkey also provides significant development investment assistance to African countries.

“Turkey has supplied around $2.2 billion in development assistance over the last 14 years, but there is also a significant amount of trade between Turkey and African countries. This trade volume benefits both Turkey and African countries. A transaction volume of $24.5 billion was reached last year. Our goal is $50 billion,” Sağman continued, adding that Turkish enterprises are currently involved in around 1,700 projects across the continent.

Speaking on what distinguishes Turkey from other players in Africa, Sağman said that Ankara prioritizes equality, reciprocal respect and transparency.

“Working together, we are growing and rising together,” the envoy underlined.

Turkey being ever more active in Africa in recent years has also grabbed the attention of the international community.

“Everyone is curious about Turkey’s model. Many Western countries want to consult us about Africa. Meetings are arranged to learn more about Turkey’s activities in Africa,” Sağman said, referring to meetings with the European Union, France and Portugal, among others, on Africa.

“We are in Africa because Africa wants us and we want Africa.”

Turkey-Africa Media Summit

Meanwhile, Turkey and Africa have held a two-day media summit in the metropolis Istanbul, in which journalists from Africa and Turkey on Wednesday discussed the challenges reporters face.

In his opening speech at the Turkey-Africa Media Summit, Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said he hopes the summit will “strengthen our friendship, enable us to get to know each other better and create new cooperation opportunities in the field of media.”

A range of issues was discussed, including post-pandemic challenges in journalism, journalism under digital siege and women in journalism, at the event organized by the Presidency’s Directorate of Communications.

Among the participants were 80 media experts from 45 African countries, African diplomats, public officials and members of civil society.

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