Erdogan’s Africa Diplomacy Puts Turkey’s Ambitions to the Test

Erdogan’s Africa Diplomacy Puts Turkey’s Ambitions to the Test
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari speak during a joint news conference, Ankara, Turkey, Oct. 19, 2017 (Presidential Press Service photo via AP).

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan touched down in Luanda, Angola, for the first leg of a four-day, three-nation diplomatic tour of Africa. After meeting with Angolan President Joao Lourenco, the Turkish leader continued on to West Africa, where he met with his Togolese counterpart, Faure Gnassingbe, before concluding his trip in Nigeria with a bilateral meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

Throughout the tour, Erdogan—who has now visited nearly 30 African countries—highlighted the importance of cooperation between Turkey and Africa, and emphasized the prospects for increased partnerships. He also signed a swathe of bilateral agreements, including one for the financing of the newly inaugurated Adetikope industrial platform located near Lome, Togo’s capital, and cooperation agreements on defense, mining and energy with both Angola and Nigeria.

Erdogan’s tour comes as Turkey seeks to expand its footprint in Africa amid growing geopolitical tensions in its own backyard as well as with partners like France and the United States. Just as significantly, Turkey’s growing ambitions in Africa also put it on a course collision with its NATO partners, but also China and Russia. 

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