President of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo speaks during the Second Turkey- Africa Partnership Summit at Sipopo Congress Center in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.

Turkey in Africa

Africa's global significance is rising, driven by its abundant untapped resources, growing economies, expanding demographics, rapid urbanisation and burgeoning middle class. These trends have attracted the attention of players such as Turkey, European Union (EU) nations, the United States, China, India, the United Arab Emirates and Russia—all of whom are increasing their presence on the continent.

Both Turkey and various EU states are seeking to elevate their African relations to new levels and foster cooperation across various sectors. Ankara’s recent emergence as a significant actor in Africa contrasts with EU states—many of whom have had historical influence in Africa and are now grappling with the legacy of colonialism.

CATS previously visualized how Turkey has intensified its diplomatic, economic, military and cultural involvement in Africa. These new CATS Network Papers present assessments of Turkey's engagement with Africa from the perspectives of Germany, France, Italy and Spain, complemented by analyses from Turkey itself and two major actors on the continent, Egypt and Ethiopia.

How can the EU and Turkey—with their shared and competing interests—co-exist in Africa? Do European policy makers view Turkey's presence in Africa as competitive or is there room for cooperation?

This project aims to discern how specific EU countries perceive Turkey's expanding influence on the continent. Both Turkey and the EU have investments in the stability and advancement of Africa, prompting questions about where their policies align or diverge.

CATS Network Papers

    • Max Montgomery

    Rival, Partner, or Something in-between?

    Germany is adapting its Africa strategy to changing geopolitical realities. Africa is increasingly becoming a contested ground for international competition from established players and new actors. Will this reset from Berlin result in Germany and Turkey being at odds or working together?

    Centre for Applied Turkey Studies (CATS), CATS Network Paper, No. 01, 09 April 2024, 37 Pages

  • French Perceptions of Turkey in Africa: A Potentially Problematic Player

    There is a growing unease among policymakers in Paris that Turkey’s increased involvement in Africa—the so-called French “backyard”—may lead to conflicts with France in the areas of defence, economy and development. However, for the time being direct conflicts between Paris and Ankara—such as in Libya—remain the exception.

    Centre for Applied Turkey Studies (CATS), CATS Network Paper, No. 02, 09 April 2024, 28 Pages