According to the head of the Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TIM), Turkish companies are aiming to reach a trading volume of $50 billion in a year with the African countries. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country's president, traveled to Africa to sign bilateral trade agreements with African countries in order to boost trade between Turkey and Africa. Turkey wants to double its current trade volume, which is around $25 billion, in the near future.
The African continent is one of the least industrialized locations on the planet, and its natural beauty draws more developed countries with limited human and natural resources. China is the country making the most significant investments in Africa. Furthermore, because an increasing number of Chinese men are marrying African women, China is settling in Africa by building a strong cultural connection. European countries also maintain close ties with various African countries. As a result, there is fierce competition in Africa, and Turkey appears to be at a disadvantage.
Turkey Seeks Political, Cultural, and Economic Links with Africa
Turkey has a common history with some of the African countries, thanks to the Ottoman dominance in the region. Also, the Islamic culture helps Turkey create a close connection with the African Muslims. However, in terms of trade and cooperation in production, China and the European countries have the advantage. President Erdogan has visited 23 African nations in the last two years to sign bilateral free trade agreements and create new opportunities for Turkish businesses, demonstrating Turkey's genuine desire to deepen its relationship with Africa. Turkey has also attempted to intervene in political crises in African countries by supporting one side or acting as a mediator. However, so far, there is no evidence that Turkey will be able to achieve its objectives in Africa.
Obstacles in the Way of Turkey Taking Bolder Moves
Unfortunately, the European countries and China have built large barriers in front of Turkey. Although it seems political, even the European Union (EU) has issued statements condemning Turkey's actions in African countries. These declarations accuse Turkey of fomenting strife in African countries, and certain sanctions have been imposed against Turkey. Turkey is in a precarious position as a result of the country's ongoing economic turmoil. Given that European countries are among the biggest importers of Turkish goods, the sanctions imposed on Turkey prevent Erdogan from taking further risky moves in the African continent.
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