News

    Turkish Airlines Opens Route to Somalia

    Employees work on a Turkish Airlines plane after its arrival at Aden Abdulle International Airport in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, March 6, 2012
    Employees work on a Turkish Airlines plane after its arrival at Aden Abdulle International Airport in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, March 6, 2012

    This month, Turkish Airlines became the first major commercial carrier to fly directly to Somalia in more than 20 years. The move is the latest high profile step Turkey has taken to extend its economic and political influence on the African continent.

    Turkish Airlines inaugural flight to the Somali capital, Mogadishu, is the latest high profile move in Turkey's commitment to the war-torn country.  

    Last year, Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the first Western leader in decades to visit Somalia. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag, speaking to journalists on the flight to Mogadishu, stressed that his country is committed to supporting efforts to bring peace to Somalia.

    Bozdag said there are serious security problems, which he says will not to be solved in the short term. But he saidTurkish leaders have expressed their opinions on what needs to be done to bring about peace and that Turkey welcomes positive developments toward that end.

    According to Turkish media reports, Ankara is working to end fighting between Islamist al Shabaab militants and the Somali government and African Union forces. Turkish aid agencies are operating in both Somali government and al Shabaab controlled regions. Ankara has also indicated it is prepared to offer training and support to the Somali government.

    Sub-Saharan Africa
    Sub-Saharan Africa

    Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Selcuk Unal said Turkey's efforts are part of a growing commitment to sub-Saharan Africa.

    "There are so many frozen conflicts in Africa and we, as a country which has always conducted steady relationships with the north part of it, [and] we are trying establish concrete relations with the sub-Saharan countries in the last decade," Unal  said. "I think there is sincere interest on our side to extend aid to those regions as well."

    Elsewhere Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has defended the Sudan's government against accusations of genocide in Darfur, but Ankara has also worked to defuse tensions between Sudan and newly independent South Sudan.

    The Islamist roots of Turkey's ruling AK party give it an advantage with the emergence of new governments in the Arab spring countries, according to SInan Ulgen, a former senior Turkish diplomat who now heads the Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies, an independent think tank in Istanbul. He saidTurkey's diplomatic efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa are a logical extension of its deepening ties with Arab neighbors.

    "Given that most of these new actors will have an association with political Islam, these are going to be the new rulers of these countries and Turkey is in a very favorable position to establish links with the new leadership of these countries," Ulgen said. "In an as far [as] sub-Saharan Africa is concerned that is a new geography for Turkey and the dynamic there is Turkey will increase its economic opportunities. So Turkey is now opening up a host of new embassies across Africa."

    The expansion of embassies across the continent coincides with a similar growth in work by TIKA, the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency. There has also been a major expansion in flights by Turkish Airlines to Africa. These initiatives have led to a threefold growth in exports to Africa since 2010.

    Mehmet Ardar, a Professor of International relations and an expert on development in Africa, at Galatasaray University, said Ankara is following a carefully balanced strategy toward the continent.

    "Turkish airlines and then the diplomatic services as well have opened [a] large number of new embassies and each new embassy comes with a facilitation of business by the Turkish investors and Turkish businessmen," said Ardar. "The government actions, aid, diplomacy and business has gone together. It is part of globalization and Turkey becoming a global actor."

    Ardar and other analysts saidTurkey's diplomatic and commercial push into sub-Sharan Africa has made it a competitive player in Africa - especially against other rising powers like China and India.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora