Does Erdogan have a plan in mind for Africa? - SELÇUK TÜRKYILMAZ

Does Erdogan have a plan in mind for Africa?

A report by Yeni Şafak daily states that Russian media highlighted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s fortitude as he spoke of his Africa visit. According to the Russians, the most prominent reason President Erdoğan is not afraid of the world’s five nuclear powers is that he has a plan of his own at play. Furthermore, he is progressing step by step to implement this plan. Similar to Russian media, several articles concerning Erdoğan’s Africa visit were penned by French media as well. These articles focus on Turkey being a driving force in Africa. 

Erdoğan’s four-day West Africa visit resonated a lot more compared to his previous visits. It can be ascertained that the fact that Ankara’s policy in Africa presents constancy in accordance with a certain policy, gaining depth as it progresses, has been effective in this regard. As underscored in Russian media, the gradual implementation of Erdoğan’s plan has started to draw attention. 

 

Cornerstones of Turkey’s Africa policy 

Turkey’s Africa policy is being built upon economic and trade relations. However, it is the ideological dimension that ensures these relations become deeper and permanent. This idea gained prominence within the scope of Erdoğan’s four-day visit. As publicity for Erdoğan’s book, “A Fairer World is Possible,” captured attention on billboards, so did Erdoğan’s objective. However, we cannot say that a discussion about the nature of this plan has been brought up on the world’s agenda as of yet. It is likely that as events develop in the same direction, Turkey’s perspective will become a hot-button topic. Of course, this new development should have come up domestically as well, but opposition groups are choosing to nip it in the bud. However, the topic closely concerns the nation as much as it does the world. 

 

 Why are some within ignoring Erdoğan’s Africa visit? 

If you pay close attention, articles in French media, as well as those penned through the lens of other Western countries, are based on the concept of power. The references made to soft and hard power essentially imply the realization of objectives such as expansionism. As the reflection of such an acknowledgment or a Eurocentric perception, Turkey’s main opposition, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), had already identified Turkey’s Mediterranean policy as expansionist. It is safe to say that the same perception applies to its Africa policy. Thus, when Libya had come up on the agenda, CHP politicians had said that we Turkey had no business being in North Africa. Conservative parties are also known for embracing the CHP’s discourse. They too claim that Turkey is following an expansionist policy. If they were to go a step further and draw a conceptional frame, they would not hesitate to accuse Turkey of being colonialist or imperialist. In this sense, it is crystal clear that emphasis on the nature of the idea mentioned by the Russians will be significant – because, to consider Turkey as a colonialist and imperialist country, one would either need to be clueless on the events of the last five centuries, or be doing this intentionally. 

 

Our region, from Africa to Turkestan: There must be an anti-colonialism system 

Considering the last five centuries of world history, it can clearly be discerned that Turkey is striving to construct a new idea in a vast area from the west coasts of Africa, from the Sahara’s “coast” to Asia’s steppes. Deepening ties with African countries through bouncing trade relations is also significant within this context. A slew of countries of the great continent gaining economic independence is of critical importance.  A new interest in Africa’s resources is in question, with emphasis on the fact that Turkey is contributing to the African countries of the colonial era. We are well aware that the liberal groups in Turkey share the same opinion. Glossing over Turkey’s breakthroughs in Africa, or efforts to trivialize them need to be discussed hand-in-hand with the praise for European colonialism, in which liberals are also included. 

 European colonialism had risen through a bypass of the Turkish and Muslim world. Our ancestors had grasped very early on what the Portuguese fleet reaching the Indian Ocean signified. Four centuries on, we strove to reposition our region during the Sultan Abdulhamid II period, but, alas, we did not possess the necessary power to make it happen. An era ended with World War I. Now, a century later, it is very clear that we want to form an atmosphere in which Mansa Musa can depart from Mali and easily cross the Sahara. So to speak, we need to see the “master plan.” 

 Erdoğan’s book, “A Fairer World is Possible,” says new things. The book’s content will be further discussed over time. Surely, this will be possible with Turkey’s acumen. Anti-colonialism should also be a system. 

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