ADDIS ABABA. After declaring 2005 as “the year of Africa”, Turkey started to bring to fruition the African expansion in the real sense. Since 2002, Turkey has increased its number of embassies in Africa to 39, and later on, increased the trading volume only with Sub-Saharan Africa up to 7.5 billion dollars, which used to be a billion before this development.
At the moment, the continent of Africa contains the fastest-growing economies. According to the IMF data, 10 of the 64 fastest-growing countries in the world reside in Africa. Thus, Africa now attracts the attention of developed economies in a different way. We say different, because in the past, Africa had only been evaluated as a continent whose rich underground resources could be exploited by the developed economics of nowadays.
While the underground and terrestrial resources were being exploited recklessly, not even a glimpse of concern had been shown in the sense of developing the continent. As the developed world continued establishing its communities full of prosperity by exploiting Africa’s resources, they didn’t leave those countries alone; rather, by interfering with their administrations, borders and almost everything, they were preventing them from developing.
In the meantime, they voiced the question “Why has no development or advancement happened in the world outside the West, but it only happened in Europe?” like an academic intellectual question. There is a slyness, and intention of establishing an expression behind the way the question had been directed. Of course, by relating the answer to culture, mentality and religious beliefs, they continued to legitimize their exploitation relations.
As for today, even though the same developed world continues its same cultural arrogance and ambition to intervene, the world is not the same, and in total, Africa is experiencing a serious awakening process.
As for Turkey, despite regarding Africa as a piece of economic expansion, the country presented an important difference by not only staying within this frame. With the support given to Somali, whose administration and economy had completely collapsed, in a sense the country had been completely re-constructed.
While establishing a relation with African countries over TİKA, or the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, which opened 9 offices throughout Africa, helping them in developing is regarded now as carrying importance. By means of water-wells, agricultural development projects and health care services, which had been conducted via TİKA and NGOs, Turkey shows its difference in the sense of interest towards Africa. As a matter of fact, following its financial aid that exceeds 1 billion dollars towards the continent, Turkey is among the top donating countries.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan once again shows his persistence on the matter of African expansion by means of realizing the second part of his trip, which he conducted in Western Africa a short time ago, in Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti. By being the first and only world leader to visit Somalia during a time when Somalia is dealing with starvation and civil war, Erdoğan enshrined himself in the heart of, not only the Somali community, but also, the African community.
During his speech at Addis Ababa University, while receiving an honorary PHD, his “Our interest towards Africa is not like the others’ that set its eyes on the diamonds and underground richness of this continent. Before anything else, our interest is a humanistic one” statement once again presented Turkey’s difference.
Also, while explaining his reason for giving an honorary PHD to Erdoğan, the university rector stated that, “Erdoğan was entitled to his exceptional leadership because of the democratization, human rights and economic development he achieved in Turkey, and everyone accepted this. However, it would be unfair to limit him with the reforms he conducted within his own country”. According to the rector, Erdoğan’s leadership had opened new political horizons for not only Turkey, but also Africa, and it is a leadership that is recognized. Somalia, without a doubt, was the most important country where this leadership stood out.
The first destination of the trip, Ethiopia, is the only country in Africa that had been colonized. It’s a country, which possesses a rooted history, however, has had its share of wars and tensions with the colonists since the day colonialism entered Africa. Because of this the country had experienced constant inconsistencies. Of course, the most important aspect of its rooted history from the point of Muslims is; being the Abyssinian land where the 1st Hegira happened.
One of the most moving scenes of the Islamic history is Necaşi’s, who administered the country during Hegira, protection towards Muslims despite the complaints and requests of the Meccan polytheists, and his famous dialogue with the representative of Muslims, His Holiness Cafer bin Ebu Talib.
It would be enough for the Western world, who markets multiculturalism and religious freedoms as their own inventions and in exchange for this, asks “why these types of values are not developed in the world outside the West” by playing innocent, if they have a look at the history of Ethiopia. In that way, they would see what they need to.
Necaşi was a Christian, a religionist. In other words, he was from the society which is expected to recognize the prophet when they had listened to or they had seen him. Others, despite recognizing His Holiness Muhammed, didn’t steer towards accepting him because of their jealousy and arrogance. However, Necaşi didn’t abstain from stating that there is no difference between His Holiness Muhammed’s and His Holiness Jesus’ messages, and had shown Him the required respect.
As for President Erdoğan, who is visiting the Abyssinia of today, Ethiopia, he is being afflicted with the lobby activities and black propaganda of the people, whom he supported personally and sent as references, against the country. As the schools, which had been opened with his support, become the center of activities to the detriment of Turkey, it made the top of the agenda for the trip. We will continue reporting the developments related with this agenda.