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Caliphate Lite: Turkey Eyes Somalia as Gateway into Africa

21st Century Wire says…

As far as Turkey’s own Neo-Ottoman geopolitical ambitions are concerned, Somalia is now its primary gateway into Africa.

Turkey’s political and economic motives are no secret to Africa.

In June, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan completed his African tour, in his tenth trip to sub-Saharan African country in less than 18 months, he visited a number of destinations including Kenya and Uganda.

Turkey’s portfolio in Africa is growing, and its impressive as the Financial Times reports:

“Turkey has 34 embassies in sub-Saharan Africa, compared with seven in 2009. African countries are also the largest recipients of Turkish foreign aid. A total of $400m has been committed to Somalia alone in the past five years, with the Muslim-majority nation singled out for largesse. Turkish Airlines, which is 50 per cent state-owned, flew to seven airports in six sub-Saharan countries in 2009. It now has routes to 51 destinations in 34 countries across the continent. This number of routes is more than double Emirates’ African network, and on par with Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways.”

“Turkish exports to sub-Saharan Africa rose from under $1.5bn in 2006 to more than $4.1bn in 2013, before tailing off slightly amid the global slowdown.”

More interestingly, Turkey has  also been active militarily since 2009, as part of the international counter-piracy task force off the Somali coast.

For now, all roads go through Mogadishu…

Suraj Sharma
Middle East Eye

ISTANBUL, Turkey – Within a month Turkey will open its largest overseas military facility in Africa. Ankara’s largest diplomatic representation is in Africa. Its national airline flies to more destinations in Africa than any other international carrier.

Africa to Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government represents untapped economic opportunities and a return to lands that were once under its imperial rule.

The government in Ankara was determined to establish a foothold in Africa after watching global economic rivals China and India target African markets for years.

Extra urgency has been added to Turkey’s push into Africa as the UAE, fast becoming Ankara’s main regional foe, increases its own military presence on the continent. The UAE is building a series of military bases in Africa to expand its regional reach.

Even though the UAE’s primary focus seems to be northern Africa – Libya specifically where it militarily and financially backs the renegade general, Khalifa Hafter – its alliance with African Union member Egypt could undermine Turkish efforts all over the continent.

Turkey’s renewed focus on Africa began in 2005 and by 2008 a diplomatic drive was launched. Ankara gradually increased the number of its diplomatic representations on the continent to 39. The number of African diplomatic missions to Turkey also increased from eight to 33.

Ahmet Kavas, a former Turkish ambassador to the republic of Chad and an adviser at the prime ministry on Africa affairs, told Middle East Eye that Turkey’s presence in Africa made more sense than that of any other country.

“If you were to think of any one country that should be present in Africa, that country would be Turkey,” said Kavas. “The anomaly was the 20th century when we were largely absent from the continent and the western Europeans stepped in.”

Continue this story at MEE

SEE MORE TURKEY NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Turkey Files

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