Turkey- Horn of Afrıca Istanbul Meetıng FINAL REPORT (DRAFT)
Istanbul Meeting, the first event of Turkey - Horn of Africa Strategic Dialogue Program that has the main theme of ” Turkey - ‘Horn of Africa’ Countries: Inter-dependence and Deepening”, was held by the cooperation of Turkish Asian Center for Strategic Studies (TASAM) African Institute and Horn of Africa Studies Center (HASC) on 24 December 2016 in Istanbul.
Along with representatives from Turkey and African Horn, official, non-official and private sector representatives, international NGO and think-tank representatives, representatives from politics and business world, mission representatives, academics, professionals, national and international media representatives participated in the meeting.
Prominent conclusions and considerations of Istanbul Meeting that was held with sessions with the headlines of “Codependence and Deepening”, “Opportunities and Challenges”, “Multi-Dimensional Sectorial and Financial Deepening”, “Capacity Building” between Turkey and African Horn countries, are as follows:
1. Turkey-Africa relations rely on historical, religious and cultural more than thousand years, from initial times of Islam to Ottoman-African relations. Representatives that are significant to strengthen historical connections, have an effective role on multi-dimensional sectorial and financial deepening and their numbers are continuing to increase, of Turkey, impossible to be considered as irrelevant from Africa and an important component of historical geography and institutional memory, have to be reinforced.
2. Depending on USA’s new period policies decreasing of support to Africa, thus rising of appreciation of Turkey’s support to the region is being thought. Furthermore, beyond the supports that have limited contribution to permanent investments, taking more responsibility about experience sharing on capacity building and relevant fields is required.
3. African Horn is a strategic market that has a military significance with its geographical location, its relation with petrol regions, fertile soil, critical water reserves, mineral stratum, population and railway route for primary global and regional powers. Turkey’s role have to be increased in order to implement long-term and sustainable policies in the region that is facing with conflict and instability due to political leadership and relevant problems.
4. Media, Universities, and NGOs, which focused on the region, should carry out their studies by upon concept composed of development, cooperation, solidarity, promotion and historical unity rather than impossibility and relative concepts. In this context, Turkish Scholarships Program that has to be improved both qualitative and quantitative have a significant function, especially for the region. Also, policies that aimed at choices of African students that study in Turkey in the extent of the Program in order to contribute their own countries after education are needed to be revised upon students contribution to source countries.
5. Establishing new universities in the region in the extent of reconstruction of education, consolidation of existing educational institutions, even seeking for free education possibility are required and to develop policies through these objectives should be pioneered. Exchange programs are needed to be carried to the optimum functional level, the measure to levels of both student and teacher.
6. It is a necessity for the policies aim to the region that contains different religions and cultures and spoken languages more than 80, have to be comprehensive.
7. Turkey should establish particular contact points in the region, also NGO’s should cooperate with embassies that expected to be functional in the missions of detecting contact points and researching public opinion oriented activity fields.
8. In order to develop more realistic policies in mutual relations, common fields are supposed to brought together with academic studies. That is an emergent necessity to create a database due to make comprehensive academic researches in this sense.
9. In general, the Horn of Africa, where scientific and in particular sociological studies are inadequate, is a region that has opportunities for new entrepreneurs and therefore should be subject to further research.
10. At the point of contributing finding solutions to political and sociologic problems that prevent development and stability, therefore comprehending the multinational dynamics and international interaction fields of the continent, as a professional is so important. So, more academic studies and cooperation aimed at the capacity building have to be developed generally in Africa.
11. Turkey-The Horn of Africa relations are predicted to have more significance on the economic development of countries in the region, especially in the bilateral level. In this context, on-site production investments should be considered as an opportunity. Yet, enterprises of Turkey in the region, established a rivalry arena also beneficial for the region. For example, the launch of Turkish Airlines’ activity in the region has drawn attention of other airlines companies in the region.
12. Despite Turkey is the first country that established an embassy in Somalia and her direct financial support to the region isn’t being reported as news in international resources, its supports effect on the solution of problems in the Somalia that faces with political and social issues are limited. The region primarily and in the shortest time should be stabilized through agreements with the countries of the region. Moreover, giving access to economic resources to Muslim population has significance about conclusive and comprehensive solutions.
13. Turkey’s Activities in Afrika: It is important to organize them in an understanding that covers the stages of planning, implementation and monitoring of results. In this context, there should be two units in Turkey and Ethiopia that are in constant contact. Information obtained through IGAD and observations of officials in the Addis Ababa unit should be conveyed to Turkey and the activities to be carried out and coordinated by both units. It should be emphasized that the unit in Turkey is the main owner and responsible of these activities. The counterparts on the other side should be known and should be assessed over time whether the counterparties cooperate in harmony. The Ethiopian unit should be able to appoint doctoral students and these students should be able to continue their dissertation studies about the region.
14. Foreign investments originating in Turkey, predominantly oriented towards Ethiopia, should be ensured that the Horn of Africa region is also disseminated in other countries.
15. The emigration from Eritrea that has economic reasons and the reasons like compulsory military service, caused to the establishment of emigrant camp that has unhealthy conditions and the camp is the target of organ mafia. The International community has a responsibility to send refugees to either their own countries or third countries with citizenship right.
16. Support to Somalia’s efforts to found a regular army based on its own human resource should be sustained through adding financial complementary to negotiations.
17. It is necessary to be known that the political, social, financial crisis in Somalia is not independent of international and inter-regional balance policies. Hence common struggle directed to peace and negotiation has to be determinant.
18. Human resource and capacity building are connected. In this context, emigration in Eritrea that 750 thousand Eritrean lives in the diaspora is one of most significant problems expecting to be solved.
19. Another problem Eritrea, which is separated from Ethiopia, is characteristics of Ethiopia- Eritrea relations and UN has important missions on this issue.
20. There are various investment opportunities in Eritrea that require direct external investments in food security and energy sector. In a country that agriculture is still primary main livelihood, fundamental infrastructure issues as electricity and water, are being tried to be solved with different methods like dam lakes and irrigation.
21. Turkey is struggling with regional problems, nonetheless has the possibility and opportunity to become more active in Africa. However, the consistency of reality of the sense on public opinion in either Eritrea or the Region should be considered.
22. In Djibouti, which Turkey undertook its infrastructure works, benefit from information transfer in order to understand social fabric and public opinion.
23. In Djibouti that contains investment opportunities on energy, tourism, education, should be benefited from regional experience accumulation also by withdrawing classical African perception.
24. At the headquarters in Turkey, the relevant NGOs should contribute and update the data bank. The data of academics working on Africa should also be collected in this center. The study of the Horn of Africa should be carried out jointly by public authorities and NGOs and the issue should not be left to NGOs alone. The experience of the Horn of Africa should be transferred to similar centers to be opened in the countries where other regional organizations in the Continent are located
25. Istanbul Meeting that lots of topics discussed extensive became a significant contribution to Turkey-The Horn of Africa relations. Also, conference, forum etc. additional international meetings should be organized in the context of strategic dialogue. Likewise, It is a necessary to organize meetings to bring academics and decision makers together in order to determine a road map for mutual capacity building, in Turkey
Istanbul, 24 December 2016