Becoming a regional power while pursuing material gains: the case of Turkish interest in Africa

Umut Korkut, Ilke Civelekoglu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Turkey’s relations with African states accelerated in all fields since the end of 20th century. We examine the recent Turkish interest in Africa through exploring two mechanisms at the disposal of the Turkish political elite. These are, first, membership in international organizations and, second, re-writing Turkey’s cultural landscape (Barnett 1999). Furthermore, these mechanisms are interrelated. We locate these mechanisms in Turkey’s front-runner role in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and strategic partnership with the African Union (AU). We explore these mechanisms in two case studies namely the Cotton Forum within OIC and multilateral and bilateral relations with the African states. Overall, we propose that Turkey’s rapprochement with the Africa is simply material gains dominated, flexible and pragmatic enough to capture the opportunities when they arise. In accomplishing its gains, Turkey resorts to international leadership role in the region by stressing existing commonality of goals (interests) and norms between African states and itself, conducive for cooperation (Destradi 2010).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-203
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Turkey
  • political science
  • African states


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