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Turkey and the Horn of Africa

Turkey and the Horn of Africa

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Published by David Shinn
This presentation briefly describes Turkey's relations with all of the countries in the Horn of Africa.
This presentation briefly describes Turkey's relations with all of the countries in the Horn of Africa.

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Published by: David Shinn on Jul 07, 2012
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1
Turkey and the Horn of Africa: Emerging Interests and Relations
Chatham House, London28 June 2012David H. ShinnTurkey has embassies in Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia but none in Eritreaand Djibouti.
Turkey’s
trade with the Horn of Africa is not significant. In 2010, it had modestimports from the region, the largest amount being $41 million in value from Ethiopia. Its onlyexports to the region that year of any significance were $228 million to Sudan and $175 millionto Ethiopia. Turke
y’s engagement in the Horn of Africa is generally more advanced than in most
of the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa because it is geographically close to Turkey and all of thecountries except South Sudan are predominantly Muslim or have large Muslim minorities.
Eritrea
Turkey’s l
east important relationship is with Eritrea. It has an honorary consulate inAsmara;
Turkey’s embassy in Sana’a
is accredited to Eritrea. There are a few Turkishcompanies operating in Eritrea. Turkey offers one PhD scholarship to an Eritrean each year.
Turkey’s close relations with Ethiopia probably account in part for it limited ties to Eritrea.
 
South Sudan
Turkey’s n
ewest relationship is with South Sudan. Turkey established a consulategeneral in Juba in January 2011 and upgraded it to an embassy after independence in July 2011.Turkey has 26 police assigned to the UN Mission in South Sudan. Not much else is happeningwith the relationship yet and with the possible exception of Turkish commercial activity, it isdifficult to envisage much occurring in the near term.
Djibouti
Turkey has a modest relationship with Djibouti. The Djiboutian president visited Ankarain 2009. Turkey provides some humanitarian aid; the Turkish Red Crescent Society occasionallyengages in Djibouti. Turkey has a sizeable scholarship program for Djiboutians; there were 30 in2009-2010 and 25 in 2010-2011. The most important tie is Djibouti port calls by Turkish navalvessels that participate in the anti-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia.
Ethiopia
Turkey’s
longest relationship is with Ethiopia. Turkey opened an embassy in AddisAbaba in 1926; Ethiopia opened one in Ankara in 1933, closed it in 1984 and reopened in 2006.Emperor Haile Selassie visited Turkey twice. The Turkish prime minister has visited Ethiopiatwice. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was co-chair of the 2008 Turkey-Africa Summit in
 
2Istanbul. The Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA) opened an office inEthiopia in 2005. Turkish Airlines began flights to Addis Ababa in 2006. The two countrieshave signed numerous agreements and memoranda of understanding. Turkey would like todevelop a free trade zone with Ethiopia. Turkey and Ethiopia held their 5
th
round of politicalconsultations in 2012.Turkey provides training each year for five Ethiopians at the Turkish Police Academy.As of 2011, there were 238 Turkish firms investing in Ethiopia with total investment estimatedbetween $1.3 and $1.8 billion. The companies were involved heavily in textiles but alsoconstruction, leather, furniture, agro-processing, and water well drilling. The
Turkish Exporters’
Union and the Turkish Federation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) organized atrade forum in Addis Ababa in 2011. Four schools (2 kindergartens, grades 1-8, and grades K-12) that are part of the Gülen movement operate in Ethiopia with 535 students.Turkey is not in a particularly strong position, even if it desires, to help resolve theongoing problems between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Sudan
Arguably, Turkey’s most important political
 
relationship is with Sudan. Turkeyrecognized Sudan after its independence in 1956. While not as long a history of interaction withindependent Sudan as with Ethiopia, Turkey has long-standing historical ties that date back tothe Ottoman period. The two countries have numerous bilateral agreements, including a freetrade agreement. They established an inter-parliamentary friendship group in 1999.
Sudan’s
president visited Turkey in 1982 and 2008 and the Turkish prime minister visited Sudan in 2006.Turkish Airlines serves Khartoum. The Turkish National Police train Sudanese police.Turkey is contributing 40 unarmed military and police personnel to the UN/African Unionpeacekeeping mission in Darfur. TIKA, the Turkish Red Crescent Society, Humanitarian Relief Organization, and Gülen-affiliated Kimse Yok Mu are all active in Darfur. Total Turkishhumanitarian and development assistance to Sudan reached $60 million by the end of 2009.While active on the humanitarian side in Darfur, Turkey tries to walk a middle line on politicalissues.Turkish investment in Sudan totals about $200 million and is mainly in steel, cement,PVC manufacturing, grain import and export, furniture, textiles, and home appliances. Turkishcompanies are building $300 million worth of infrastructure projects. The Turkish governmentand non-governmental organizations (NGOs) provide assistance to the health sector, includingtreatment in Turkey of about 100 Sudanese annually who cannot be treated in Sudan.Turkey provides 10 MA and 10 PhD scholarships annually to Sudanese students. AGülen-affiliated school that began in Khartoum in 1998 provides secondary education to 400students.
 
3
Somalia
Turkey’s
most interesting relationship is with Somalia. While there is a tendency to see
Turkey’s deep involvement in Somalia as a surprise, it has
important antecedents, some datingback to Ottoman control over Somali port enclaves. Turkey had an embassy in Somalia until thestate collapsed in 1991. In 1993, Turkey contributed a 320-person mechanized infantry unitreinforced by combat support components and three frigates to the UN Operation in Somalia(UNOSOM). Turkish Lieutenant General Cevik Bir commanded the UNOSOM force for a year.Turkey pulled back from Somalia at the conclusion of the UN mission but returned forcefully in2010 when Turkey hosted the UN-sponsored Istanbul Conference on Somalia and the Turkishpeople donated more than $300 million to combat famine in Somalia.Turkey provided a rotating commander for the multilateral Combined Task Force 151aimed at fighting Somali piracy in the Gulf of Aden and contributes a ship to the operation. In2011, Turkey hosted the Emergency Ministerial Meeting of the Organization of Islamic
Cooperation’s
executive committee on Somalia. Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, accompaniedby his family, visited Mogadishu in August 2011. This was the first by a non-African head of government in almost two decades. Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) PresidentSheikh Sharif has made several trips to Turkey. Turkey reopened its embassy in Mogadishu; theambassador is reaching out to Somalis and has visited Puntland. Turkey offered to mediatebetween the TFG and al-Shabaab. Turkey has agreed to train TFG military personnel.In spite of the large presence of Turks in Mogadishu, they have not been attacked by al-Shabaab, although one al-Shabaab suicide bombing at the Ministry of Education in October 2011killed many Somali students applying for scholarships to Turkey and Sudan. Al-Shabaab justified the attack by claiming that the students were going for intelligence or military training.Turkey did send some 400 Somalis to Turkey for religious training by the Directorate forReligious Affairs and the Turkish Religious Affairs Foundation. Al-Shabaab sees the Turkishversion of Islam as a watered down variety that is contrary to its own purist interpretation.Turkish NGOs have successfully provided famine relief in al-Shabaab controlled territory.In 2012,
Turkey’s deputy prime minister accompanied the inaugural flight of Turkish
Airlines twice weekly flight to Mogadishu. Turkey also hosted the second Istanbul Conferenceon Somalia. Doctors Worldwide, TIKA, Kimse Yok Mu, Turkish Red Crescent, HumanitarianRelief Foundation, Islamic Relief, and the Physicians for Hope Foundation are active in Somalia.Turkish NGOs operate refugee camps in Mogadishu. The Gülen-affiliated Nile Foundation of Turkey signed an agreement with TIKA to enhance the education system in Somalia over a 49-year period and has opened the first Turkish high school in Somalia.As many as 200,000 Somalis have been treated at Turkish field hospitals and clinics.Turkey has inaugurated a 400-bed hospital and plans to provide garbage trucks, build a waste-

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