World Turkey's Erdogan pivots to Africa for trade
Biden faces test as Turkey prepares new attack on Syrian Kurds
In January 2018, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch. It was designed to capture and ethnically cleanse the Afrin District of northern Syria. In October 2019, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring to control, via Turkey’s Arab proxies, the population centers from around Tell Abyad to Ras al-Ayn. Get ready for incursion No. 3. © Provided by Washington Examiner President Recep Tayyip Erdogan justifies the looming offensive as a response to a rocket attack that killed two Turkish policemen. Those officers were acting as occupation authorities in Syria’s Azaz region, north of Aleppo.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan enters this weekend's G20 summit in Rome fresh off an African tour aimed at cementing lucrative partnerships during another spell of tensions with the West.
From mining to health, energy to infrastructure, Turkish businesses are popping up across the resource-rich continent and signing deals hailed as a "win-win".
This pivot away from traditional European markets has already seen Turkey's trade with Africa balloon from $5.4 billion when Erdogan came to power in 2003 to $25.4 billion last year.
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CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — In a pair of Cape Town warehouses converted into a maze of airlocked sterile rooms, young scientists are assembling and calibrating the equipment needed to reverse engineer a coronavirus vaccine that has yet to reach South Africa and most of the world's poorest people. The energy in the gleaming labs matches the urgency of their mission to narrow vaccine disparities. By working to replicate Moderna's COVID-19 shot,The energy in the gleaming labs matches the urgency of their mission to narrow vaccine disparities.
Back from a visit to Angola, Togo and Nigeria -- and in the middle of another diplomatic spat with the West -- Erdogan told an African business forum last week that Turkey wanted to see trade triple in the coming years.
One of the most strategic and controversial areas of this cooperation is defence, where Turkey has been flaunting the game-changing successes of its military drones on the battlefields of countries such as Libya.
"Defence industry products offer a new opportunity," said associate professor Mursel Bayram of Ankara's Social Sciences University.
- 'Afro-Eurasian' nation -
Erdogan once described Turkey as an "Afro-Eurasian" nation and has visited the most African countries -- 30 out of 54 -- of any non-African head of state.
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The Western ambassadors in Turkey have "retreated" and "will be more cautious in the future," says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan © Adem Altan / AFP Erdogan does not want Not that Western countries are immusing in the affairs of his country.
The number of Turkish embassies in Africa has grown from 12 to 43 since 2002 while the national flag carrier, Turkish Airlines, flies to over 60 African destinations.
"The main reason for our increased interest in Africa is that we saw the potential there," Foreign Economic Relations Board chief Nail Olpak told AFP.
"Maybe we saw it a little late, but we did."
Olpak pointed to the young, fast-growing continent's huge need for infrastructure, from electricity to bridges, drinking water to waste disposal, where Turkish companies excel.
Turkish firms have already built a mosque in Ghana, an indoor stadium in Rwanda, an Olympic swimming pool in Senegal, and are working on an airport in Sudan.
Algeria, meanwhile, is one of Turkey's main suppliers of liquefied petroleum gas, offering Ankara a chance to "reduce our dependence on Russia and Iran", said Bayram.
- 'Like a soaring arrow' -
The State Department should rethink its Turkey policy
A Senate hearing exposed misguided perspectives by the Biden administration, incongruent with reality, that are cause for concern.On July 21, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee convened a hearing on Turkey to explore the State Department's Turkey policy through the testimony of Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland. Committee members pulled no punches in questioning Nuland on the American ally's growing antagonist role in contravening U.S. and NATO interests, its domestic war on democracy, and deteriorating human rights record.
For African officials, Turkish companies offer jobs and reasonably priced goods the quality of which often compares favourably to those from China -- one of the continent's most aggressive investors.
"We see Turkey as a serious friend who wants to invest in Africa," Tanzania Industry and Trade Minister Kitila Mkumbo told the Africa business forum in Istanbul, attended by more than 40 African and Turkish ministers.
"Africa is no longer interested in aid, Africa is interested in investment," Mkumbo said in a speech which received rapturous applause.
Uganda Investment Authority board chairman Morrison Rwakakamba was among those drumming up trade, expressing hope for Turkish interest in agriculture and agro-processing in his east African country,
"With Turkey, the relationship is very much based on mutuality and win-win, and that is a very good starting point," Rwakakamba told AFP.
The bid to expand African trade comes with the Turkish lira steadily sinking to new lows, which makes exports even more competitive.
"It is like a soaring arrow," said Muzaffer Suat Utku, executive vice president in charge of international banking at Turkey's Aktif Bank, which brands itself as the "bank of the African foreign trade".
Turkey pressing US for F-16 fighters after F-35 plan killed
The United States is discussing Turkey's request to buy F-16 fighters after a deal for more advanced F-35s was scrapped due to Ankara's purchase of a Russian missile system, officials said. But one US official said that any possible F-16 order could be dogged by the same issue that forced the cancellation of the F-35s: Turkey's decision to buy an S-400 missile system from Russia. © Olivier Matthys US President Joe Biden (R) and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, seen here in June 2021, could discuss Turkey's request to buy US-made F-16 fighters on the sidelines of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow The S-400, used to track and s
"Our exporters and investors are constantly having meetings in Africa. I believe relations will reach a much more substantial level," Utku said.
- Different from China -
Some analysts believe Ankara has developed more goodwill in Africa than has Beijing, whose projects have been known to put developing countries into heavy debt.
"If we compare Turkey with China, we can see that on the ground there are different outcomes for the local people," said Federico Donelli, international relations researcher at the University of Genoa.
"There is more involvement of local peoples and in some cases, there is also an exchange of know-how between Turkey and the local population," Donelli told AFP.
Erdogan's assertive foreign policy has been a source of rising tension with the West, with critics accusing the Turkish leader lacking a strategy.
But in Africa, experts say Turkey is following a more considered approach.
"There is a long-term plan, it's not a short-term plan," Bayram said, pointing to investments in healthcare, education, training, and the role of women.
Biden's Approach to Turkey has Washington Treading Water | Opinion .
Indispensable allies don't behave like President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Ankara's antagonism far outweighs its pseudo-friendship. If the Biden administration wants to improve relations with Turkey, Flake will need to recognize Turkey as it is today, not as he wishes it to be, Congress will have to keep pushing back on Turkey's bad behavior and President Biden will have to take personal ownership of a strategy to address the threats and challenges the so-called indispensable ally presents.Boris Zilberman is the director of public policy and strategy at the Christians United for Israel Action Fund.