Between 2005 and 2015, Turkey’s sub-Saharan Africa policy has been transformed in such a way that it now constitutes one of the main focuses of Ankara’s foreign policy. Initially begun with a modest humanitarian dimension, it now ranges across economic, social, political and security relations. This paper argues that Turkey’s foreign and development policy towards Africa has changed at ideational, societal and institutional levels. On the ideational front, there is a new geographical imagination – a profound change in perceptions of Africa, mostly from negative to positive – in Turkey that sees Africa from a totally different perspective compared with a decade ago, while institutionally Turkey has been more visible in Africa. All these levels can be observed in Turkey’s approach to sub-Saharan Africa and indicate that Ankara’s policy has reached a level of normalisation, in the sense that it is no longer “new” but rather constitutes usual and normal relations.
Paper produced in the framework of the project “The EU, the US and the International Strategic Dimension of Sub-Saharan Africa: Peace, Security and Development in the Horn of Africa”, August 2016. Publ. also in: Bernardo Venturi and Nicoletta Pirozzi (eds.), The EU, the US and the International Strategic Dimension of Sub-Saharan Africa: Peace, Security and Development in the Horn of Africa, Brussels, Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and Rome, Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), 2016, p. 103-123, ISBN 978-88-6812-734-3
1. Defining Turkey as an actor in Africa
2. The role of Turkey in peace and security in SSA
3. The role of Turkey in development in SSA
4. Priorities and challenges