Last week, the public agenda in Turkey has been busy with three main topics.
First was the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s diplomatic tour throughout African countries.
Second was the Libyan Foreign Ministry delegation’s diplomatic visit to Ankara.
Third were the discussions over a new possible military operation by the Turkish Armed Forces to northern Syria against the PKK/YPG threat.
Turkish President’s diplomatic travels to Africa
The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan left the country on Sunday, heading to a four-day diplomatic visit to three African countries, Angola, Nigeria and Togo.
The trip is significant as Turkey is hosting two important events in Istanbul: a two-day Turkey-Africa 3rd Economy and Business Summit on October 21st, and a two-day Turkey-Africa 3rd Partnership Summit on December 17th.
Turkey’s Africa policy, which encompasses political, humanitarian, economic, and cultural spheres, is part of its multidimensional foreign policy.
Turkey aims to contribute to the economic and social development of the continent with peace and stability, as well as developing bilateral relations on the basis of equal partnership and mutual benefit.
Erdogan addressed the Angolan Parliament on Monday, stressing that his country rejects ‘West-centered orientalist approaches’ towards the African continent.
“We embrace the peoples of the African continent without any discrimination,” Erdogan stated.
“We are a nation that does not have the stain and the shame of colonialism in its history. Besides, we are a country that waged a victorious War of Independence a century ago against the imperialist powers of the time,” he added.
“There are some who still cannot accept the African people’s achievements of independence, freedom and equality by sacrificing millions of their children. We have witnessed that recently. These countries need to get rid of the charm of their bloody history and face the realities of today,” continued Erdogan.
Turkey attaches great importance to the expansion of the diplomatic network, Erdogan noted, saying: “Turkey is aware of the significance of Africa. Angola is a great, powerful, and honorable country with a population of 33 million with its dynamic economy, hardworking people and visionary political leadership”.
Erdogan hosted the Angolan President Lourencho in July, and the two leaders inked agreements of cooperation on air transport, mutual promotion of investments, hydrocarbons and mining, renewable energy and visa exemptions.
Erdogan’s travel to Angola and Togo will be the first presidential-level visit from Turkey to these countries.
Sources said Erdogan will also meet Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and attend the Turkey-Nigeria Business Forum on his second visit to the West African country.
Steps will be taken to harness the true potential of the two countries’ relations during the talks, which will include bilateral economic and regional developments. Three signing of agreements in the fields of hydrocarbons, mining, and energy are also expected.
The struggle against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, will also be discussed during the Turkish president’s visit.
This will include a request to transfer FETO schools that continue to operate in several parts of Nigeria.
Togo will be President Erdogan’s last stop, where he will discuss ways to improve bilateral relations and expansion of bilateral trade, which was $150 million in 2020.
The Libyan Foreign Ministry delegation visits Ankara
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu hosted Libyan Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush in the Turkish capital on October 14th, at a time when the rival Libyan parties take efforts to compromise over the guidelines of the presidential elections, scheduled on December 24th. Parliamentary elections are planned for end of January 2022.
The Turkish Foreign Minister reiterated his country’s support for the stability and prosperity of Libya.
Following talks with his Libyan counterpart in the Turkish capital Ankara, Mevlut Cavusoglu tweeted: “We discussed our bilateral relations and the issues on our agenda with our first guest today, Foreign Minister Najla Mangoush of Libya.”
“We will continue to contribute to the stability and prosperity of Libya,” the Turkish top diplomat pledged.
On the upcoming elections in Libya, Cavusoglu said the elections should be free, fair and credible.
The elections will pave the way for the unification of Libya’s two main groups, the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli and the House of Representatives in Benghazi. The Libyan National Army under the command of General Khalifa Haftar supports the Benghazi rule and he is seeking to be nominated for the presidency. He recently stepped down from his military status.
Turkey has long been on the side of Tripoli and defended the UN-recognized GNA against the attacks by Haftar and its international backers. The Libyan parties have recently discussed a roadmap for the withdrawal of the mercenaries and foreign troops from Libya.
Libya has long been suffering from an internal divide since the collapse of Gadhafi rule in 2011.
On November 27th 2019, the internationally recognized GNA signed two key deals, one on security cooperation and the other on the demarcation of the maritime border with Turkey.
The Turkey-Libya maritime delimitation deal provided a legal framework to prevent any fait accompli by regional states. Accordingly, it averted Greek attempts to appropriate huge parts of Libya’s continental shelf since a political crisis hit the North African country in 2011.
The agreement also confirmed that Turkey and Libya are maritime neighbors. The delimitation starts from Turkey’s southwestern coast of Fethiye-Marmaris-Kas and extends to the Derna-Tobruk-Bordia coastline of Libya.
As part of the security agreement, Turkey started providing military training to Libyan troops.
Earlier this year, the two countries reiterated their commitment to enhancing bilateral ties and the maritime deal, while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emphasized that Ankara prioritizes Libya’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and political unity.
Turkey and Libya also agreed to further their cooperation in multiple areas over a series of meetings, including in the areas of oil and natural gas. Tripoli declared that economic deals with Turkey should remain in place.
Possible military operation by the Turkish Army in northern Syria
Discussions of a new military operation against the terrorist groups in Northern Syria by the Turkish Armed Forces, have caused panic among the YPG/PKK leaders. The YPG spokesman Nuri Mehmud, who had previously called on NATO for help against Turkey, has claimed that Turkey might come to an agreement with Russia, as it was in the case of Afrin Region.
A deep fear has surrounded the YPG/PKK after President Erdogan and Foreign Minister Cavusoglu indicated a new military operation against terrorist organizations in Northern Syria.
The YPG/PKK terrorist group also previously blamed Russia, for the Turkish military operation in the Afrin Region.
Mehmud also said: “For nearly 10 years of the ongoing Rojava Revolution, we only exercised our right to defend our territory against any attacks within the framework of our right to self-defense. We were never the aggressor.”
The YPG/PKK continues to harass the peace environment provided by the Turkish Armed Forces in Northern Syria, especially the areas that are covered by operations Peace Spring and Euphrates Shield.
Recently, terrorists from the terrorist group YPG/PKK killed two special ops officers in an attack within the Euphrates Shield zone. The Turkish Army has been retaliating and has neutralized more than 13 terrorists, according to the Ministry of Defense.