Global Insider: Turkey-Africa Relations

With the turmoil in North Africa impacting Turkey's primary commercial ties with the continent, Turkish exports to sub-Saharan Africa have grown sharply this year. In an email interview, Thomas Wheeler, a longtime South African diplomat and researcher at the South African Institute for International Affairs, discussed Turkey-Africa relations.

WPR: What is the history of Turkey's trade and diplomatic relations with sub-Saharan Africa?

Thomas Wheeler: Turkey had few relations with sub-Saharan Africa until the 1990s. Admittedly, the Ottoman sultan appointed honorary consuls in South Africa in the 19th century, but during the Republican era from 1922, Ankara's emphasis was on consolidating the new Turkish state and building good relations with neighboring countries. That was followed more recently by Turkey's attempts to become a member of the European Union. The subsequent stalling of Turkey's EU accession bid, combined with a strengthened Turkish economy and a political leadership eager to look beyond ties with Europe and the U.S., led to a policy of outreach to Africa during the 2000s.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review