Jan 20, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Turkey keeps US, China on toes for lucrative arms market in Africa

Geopolitics, imports of military hardware, security and the recovery from Covid were high on the agenda of the recent Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit in Istanbul.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan met with a number of African people On December 18, Führer, his country’s military dealings with the continent were high on the agenda.

The value of Turkey’s arms sales to Africa rose 700 percent to $ 328 million in 2021, from $ 41 million US dollars in 2020, according to data from the Turkish General Assembly of Exporters.

President Erdogan said Turkey and African countries have agreed on a joint action plan for partnership in peace, security, infrastructure and trade. < / p>

African leaders and Ankara adopted a joint declaration in which they committed themselves to “further strengthen and deepen cooperation in the interests of states and peoples” .

Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda and Somalia are just a few of the East African countries that have defense pacts with Ankara and offer a market for rifles, armored vehicles and drones.

Turkey has deepened relations with the continent over the past two years, which has resulted in the signing of several trade and defense pacts. So far it has signed 16 agreements with African countries to make the continent the third largest export market for armaments. The country is known for its manufacturing of helicopter engines, armored land vehicles, missiles and missiles, light weapons and defense software.

For the continent, Turkey offers competitive prices for its military hardware with no restrictions-attached policies. Ankara already has a military base in Somalia and Morocco.

The recent sales to Addis Ababa, which is currently putting a stop to civil war in the northern region of Tigray, did not go unnoticed. In August, Turkey signed a military cooperation agreement with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and sent an unspecified number of drones to Addis, which is believed to have overturned the war in favor of Mr Abiy.

But Ankara has now responded to international pressure and stopped selling. “Ethiopia can buy these drones from whoever it wants,” said the Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman in October, without confirming or denying the sales.

Turkish arms and aviation exports to Ethiopia rose in the eleven Months to $ 94.6 million by November 2021, up from around $ 235,000 in the same period in 2020, according to figures released by the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly. Sales to Angola, Chad and Morocco saw similar jumps.

“Everywhere I go in Africa everyone asks about UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles),” said President Erdogan after his visit to Africa in October 2021 , in which Angola, Nigeria, and Togo participated.

Angola has already expressed an interest in acquiring the drones, and Nigeria has bought targeted fighter pods from Aselsan, Turkey’s largest defense company.

For Ankara, successfully courting the continent means angering Russia, America and China, who, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), were the dominant players in the African arms market and made up three quarters of the continent’s imports between 2015 and 2019.

The latest data from Sipri shows that China’s share of arms imports from sub-Saharan Africa rose in 2019 from 12.1 percent a decade earlier to 29 percent.

Beijing is Since then the second largest arms supplier on the continent, behind the USA, followed by Russia, with France and Germany also having a considerable market share.

In East Africa, Uganda, Kenya and South Sudan are Beijing’s largest arms customers. According to security analysts, the African defense market is important to China today as it has accounted for nearly a quarter of its global military exports in the past eight years Actors emerge to supply this market. Your equipment is getting more sophisticated. They can also be delivered at lower prices and much faster than other providers, “said Joseph Dempsey, research analyst at Military Balance, a global defense think tank.

” The most important sector is defense because this is a new asset. Turkey has been a major player in this sector, especially drones, “said Federico Donelli, an international relations researcher at the University of Genoa.

The TB2 Bayraktar model is in high demand after it was attributed to the Having shaped the fate of the conflicts in Libya and Azerbaijan’s breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region in recent years. The drones are manufactured by the private company Baykar, run by one of Erdogan’s sons-in-law. The Turkish drones made international headlines for the first time after Ankara that year Signed two agreements in 2019 with the United Nations-recognized Libyan government, Turkey’s regional rivals, paving the way for a ceasefire.

It cemented the reputation of its drones by helping Azerbaijan manage most of the Recapture land that was lost to Armenian separatists almost three decades ago in the controversial Nagorno-Karabakh atte.

“Turkey now has more cards to play with drones when it has to negotiate with other countries,” said researcher Donelli. “This is a very good negotiating tool for Turkey.”

But the head of Turkey’s Foreign Economic Relations Committee – the NGO that hosted the October Forum in Istanbul – insisted that the growing relationship was not just about Guns went.

“We care about the defense sector and our relations with Africa,” said CEO Nail Olpak. “

But I would like to stress that it would be wrong if we saw the defense sector only as weapons, missiles, artillery, tanks and rifles.”

He highlighted the Turkish mine – Handling of vehicles in Togo that are deemed to be sales of the defense industry.

Donelli agreed, referring to Togo’s plans to upgrade its army through training and armored vehicles, weapons and other types of equipment with the support of Turkey.

Turkey and Africa have pledged to consolidate their cooperation on topical issues in the global arena, including health, peace, security, governance and justice.

This will be Turkey and Africa through the African Union focuses on three main sub-themes: peace, security and justice; people-oriented development; and strong and sustainable growth.

“These subtopics will be implemented in five strategic areas of cooperation through a joint action plan from 2022 to 2026: peace, security and governance; Trade, investment and industry; Education, Science-Technology Innovation Skills, Youth and Women Development; Infrastructure development and agriculture; and promoting resilient health systems, ”said a communique from the meeting, outlining an action plan with concrete measures to be implemented by the parties.

Turkey also has a memorandum of understanding on cooperation with the African Continental Free Secretariat. signs trade zone.

“We will continue to work with Africa on a number of issues, including poverty reduction, development and epidemics. With this summit we have crossed a decisive threshold in Turkish-African relations, “said President Erdogan.

Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Chairman of the African Union, welcomed the” win-win approach. ” Turkey towards Africa ”. . ”

“ Africa has difficulties supplying all of its citizens with electricity and water. We hope to benefit from the Turkish expertise on the continent, ”he said. “Africa is trying to benefit from Turkey’s strong industrial and commercial power,” said Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairman of the Commission of the African Union.

Erdogan aims to bring the annual trade volume with the continent to 75 billion US dollars -Dollars to triple in the coming years. The volume of trade between Turkey and Africa currently stands at 25 billion US dollars, after increasing from 5.4 billion US dollars in 2003.

Additional AFP reporting < / p>