Kolesnikova M. A. Turkish Belt of Africa: From the Ottoman Past to the Ethnopolitical Paradigm of the Present

Maria A. Kolesnikova
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Saint Petersburg, Russia
E-mail: kolmaral-1710@mail.ru


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ABSTRACT. The common past serves as a trump card in Turkey’s geopolitical game for a place under the African sun in the 21st century. The historical background of Turkish presence in Africa, that lasted almost four hundred years, gives Ankara certain advantages on the new historical stage of “penetration” into the African continent. The positive aspects of the phenomenon of the Ottoman-African relations are actively used by the Turkish officials even today in order to set up a solid relationship with the countries of the continent. To a certain extent, one can speak of a special “Ottoman model”. Its influence is noticeably traced in modern Turkish-African contacts. A proper ethnopolitical strategy also strengthens the Turkish position in Africa. An integral element of this strategy is the balanced approach to the formation of some “Muslim unity” of Sunnis and Shiites, as well as the aspiration to shape a common understanding of humanitarian threats. All this brings significant economic and political dividends to Ankara. Having proclaimed a course on building a multi-vector policy, Turkey has been consistently implementing the adopted foreign policy concept of deepening and expanding its ties with African countries from the end of the 20th century until today. At the same time, its efforts are regularly supported by the representatives of influential elites in many countries of the continent.


KEYWORDS: Ottoman Empire, Turkey, R. T. Erdogan, ethnopolitics, Justice and Development Party


DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2018-1-40-47