How could the visit of President Erdoğan to Tanzania, Mozambique, and Madagascar in January 2017 be interpreted?

President Erdoğan visited Madagascar, Mozambique, and Tanzania in January 2017; on his visit, he emphasized the points of the economic cooperation and the fight against the FETÖ in these countries. So Ankara has drawn up a new framework of its relations with African countries and it also received the new official methods in the bilateral relations, and besides the economic and political items the security item has been added.

The win – win relations became important in bilateral relations, in other words, Turkey is supposed various steps from the continental countries, and particularly President Erdoğan said; ‘the Economic co-operation isn’t at the desired level’. The Turkish official’s expectations are increasing mutual investments and opening embassies in both sides capital. Erdoğan also wants to highlight that, there are no barriers for starting and developing the relations with Madagascar and Mozambique. Erdogan announced to Mozambique to open its embassy in Turkey, and also, Erdoğan shared the knowledge of Tanzania’s embassy will open soon in Ankara.

The other prominent issue is that Turkey is calling for more cooperation in fighting against FETÖ, and precisely Ankara wants more effort from these countries in this struggle. On top of that, Ankara asked the African Countries to don’t pay any consideration to the originations that are not related to the embassy or the Republic of Turkey, and another thing that is president Erdoğan wanted from the Africans is hand over the FETÖ’s schools. Precisely Turkey also by told the Mozambique’s official about the activities of FETÖ in their country wanted to show it is following the situation in Mozambique.

In the process of Turkey’s policy of opening up to Africa, some governmental institutions like ‘TIKA’ are playing a major role and it opened its office in Darussalam in January 2017. TIKA also release that it will open its office in Madagascar and it promised the office will be more active. Maairif foundation also is among the institutions that are playing the main role the Turkey – Africa relations; the Turkish officials asked African leaders the transfer of Turkish schools to the Maarif Foundation.

In addition, FETÖ has commercial activities in the continental markets; the Turkish side suggested the creation of an institution called DEİK and all the commercial activities will be under the aforementioned institution. However, TUSKON was in the forefront in the economic aspect of Turkey-Africa relations. This association has been linked to FETÖ in the past.

How will these countries response to the Erdoğan’s demands?

Erdoğan explained the struggles with FETÖ in Turkey in his meeting with the presidents, at the same time he discussed the steps could be taken in their countries. Maybe the calling for cooperation in combat with FETÖ will perceive as an intervention in their internal affairs by the African leaders.

Therefore some countries will move slowly on the matter of transfer the schools and take any procedures regarding the persons who are linked with FETO.

In fact, the attitude of the continental countries towards the schools is not the same. It could show disparities among the countries, For example, Somali transferred the schools but Kenya did not.  Gina, Somali, and Niger have transferred the schools and signed the memorandum of understanding with Sudan, Senegal, and Chad. It may be thought that Ankara will focus on the closing and transfer of schools as soon as possible.

In addition, some media organs said that some FETÖ’s members who are wanted have emigrated to Mozambique and Madagascar.

Lastly we can say that, the relations with the continent depend on the improvements in US and Greece.

Conclusion

For the first time, Turkish president visited Mozambique and Madagascar. After offered the new framework in the relation, new items have been added to the Turkish-African relation, and following the transfer of the Turkish Schools will use in the fighting with FETÖ by the Turkish officials, and hereabouts the soft and hard powers will work side by side in bilateral relations.

In two years president, Erdoğan visited ten African countries, and the struggle against terrorism and the security cooperation are expressed clearly.

In all the connection with the counterparts of Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia conveyed their views on the schools and the associations of FETÖ, also president Erdoğan visited Ivory, Ghana, Nigeria and Guinea in February 2017.

The African position is very valuable for discussing the win – win relationship, and various steps must be taken and the continuation of this must be guaranteed, besides that, the Ankara’s hopes are opening the embassies and signed the free trade agreements, and close or transfer of the FETÖ’s schools from the continental countries.

Turkey seems to have taken steps to initiate relations with Africa after the cooperation with Africa is increased; the questions here, will it is possible to establish a strategic partnership with the opening of the first steps in Africa? Or will cooperation continue in the long run? And at this point, the policy that Africa will follow towards Turkey is significant and it is estimated that Turkey will closely follow its relations with Africa.

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Dr. Ceren GÜRSELER
2003 yılında Bilkent Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü'nden onur decesiyle mezun oldu. Yüksek lisans derecesini 2006 yılında Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü'nde "The Islamic Rhetoric of the Palestine Liberation Organization (Filistin Kurtuluş Örgütü'nün İslami Söylemi)" başlıklı teziyle aldı. Doktorasını Ankara Üniversitesi Siyasal Bilgiler Fakültesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü'nde "Afrika Örf ve Adet Hukukunda Self-Determinasyon Hakkı" başlıklı teziyle 2015 yılında tamamladı. Nevşehir Hacı Bektaş Veli Üniversitesi Uluslararası İlişkiler Bölümü Devletler Hukuku Anabilim Dalı'nda yardımcı doçent olarak görev yapmaktadır. Avrasya Stratejik Araştırmalar Merkezi'nde Afrika ve Arap Ülkeleri Araştırmacısı, Ankara Üniversitesi Afrika Çalışmaları Araştırma ve Uygulama Merkezi'nde Dış İlişkiler Uzmanı, Çankaya Belediyesi'nde Dış İlişkiler Uzmanı olarak çalışmıştır. Afrika ülkeleri siyaseti, Afrika siyaseti, Filistin sorunu, self-determinasyon, siyasal İslam, uluslararası hukuk, terörizm ve Afrikalı-Amerikan çalışmaları başlıca araştırma ve çalışma alanları arasındadır.