Erdoğan’s soft power takes hold in Africa - FT

Turkey is seeking to exert influence in African countries by using its soft power through humanitarian aid and TV series, the Financial Times reported on Monday.

Turkey uses trade, development aid and even soap operas to cement Turkish influence on the continent, the publication said.

“Turkey has these soft power advantages that it can exploit,” Financial Times cited Michael Tanchum, an expert on Turkish foreign policy at Spain’s University of Navarra, as saying.

Since 2009, Turkey has increased the number of embassies in Africa from 12 to 42 and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited more than 20 capitals, Financial Times reported.

Erdoğan seeks to double Turkey’s trade volume with Africa to $50bn in the coming years. In North Africa, Turkey has been involved militarily, providing support for the UN-backed administration in Libya, Financial Times said.

Turkey and its ally Qatar have been pitched against the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt in a regional power struggle that centres on trade and influence, Financial Times said.

Turkey has also established a large military training camp in Somalia.