Turkey’s Foray into Africa: A New Humanitarian Power?
October 1, 2011
Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan visited Somalia in mid-August to raise awareness on the devastating famine that left tens of thousands of people dead and displaced nearly a million. But the visit had broader undertones for Turkey: as a rising power that straddles the east and west, Ankara was aiming to pronounce its unique foreign policy orientation, predicated upon its moral authority, not its military or economic clout. More importantly, Turkey was laying the foundation for its foray into Africa -a continent that, by and large, remains untouched and underdeveloped. As Ankara re-orientates its foreign and trade policies, it is establishing roots in Africa by making humanitarian assistance its initial point of contact. And while traditional powers (the U.S., EU, China and India) take a wait-and-see attitude towards Africa, particularly with respect to stabilization, Turkey appears to be investing in the stabilization phase and planting the seeds for a long-term engagement.