Turkey making inroads in Africa amid criticism on Somalia affairs
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The government of Turkey has reiterated its commitment to working with African countries on matters of security, trade, and investments, amid external competition to seize the continent, which is seen as the future epicenter of the world economies.
Ankara has been making inroads in Africa but her influence is largely visible in Arab-speaking countries, where it controls huge stakes in terms of economic development and even security enhancement.
For instance, Turkey has a huge presence in Somalia where it has been working to improve the country's infrastructure besides strengthening the security forces through training of Gor-Gor troops and Haramcad police officers.
But the presence in Somalia has often been criticized by members of the opposition, who accuse Ankara of "promoting dictatorship" in the government of Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. Also, the Al-Shabaab militants have been targeting Turkish nationals in Somalia.
In a statement, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, said Ankara will continue to work closely with African countries for the sake of stability and peace, which are key indicators of development.
"We will continue to be in unity and solidarity with African countries and the AU with the strength and inspiration we derive from our centuries-old historical, cultural, and human relations with Africa," he said.
"Our approach to African countries completely matches the founding principles of the AU and is built on a holistic, inclusive, equal partnership on the basis of mutual respect and win-win strategy," he noted. "We share the spirit of 1963 and the vision of Africa, and attach great importance to Agenda 2063 and UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals."
According to him, Turkey has immensely invested in Foreign Policy which he says has tremendously improved the relationship between Turkey and African nations. It's competing with European nations and the US, while the far East is also making inroads.
"We continue to contribute to peace and stability and economic and social development in Africa through our public institutions, non-governmental organizations and the private sector," he said, adding that: "Our Africa Initiative and Africa Partnership policies, considered among the most successful initiatives of our foreign policy, constitute an added value to our relations with the Continent."
Turkey is a major financial partner of African nations and has particularly invested in the Horn of Africa with Somalia being a major beneficiary. Turkey has the largest overseas military training school in Somalia and is considering expanding its territories to the south.