“We are losing Africa, stop the Turks!” This is how the Paris-based DSI Security and Defense magazine described the Turkish expansion into Africa and its progress in the defense industry, which it also described as a “threat.”
The magazine said that this massive development, which poses a threat to France and European countries, “must stop.”
“We are losing Africa, stop the Turks!”
Paris-based security and defense industry magazine DSI has described Türkiye’s progress in the defense industry as a “threat”.
“This rise, which is a threat to France and European countries, must be stopped.” pic.twitter.com/IoIUQiIL2S
— Clash Report (@clashreport) June 17, 2023
Turkey has expanded its diplomatic influence over Africa in recent years, increased its trade and investments in infrastructure, and gained more and more military alliances in the region. This, of course, put not only France, but also the United States, the European Union, the entire Western world or the Atlantic camp in general, into some deep fears.
However, we chose this as the main title for our article, as we will focus more on assessing the decline of French imperialism’s influence economically, politically and militarily in Africa. Of course, Africa cannot be excluded from the new polarizations happening around the world. Africa, with a population of 1.2 billion, 60 percent of whom are young generations below the age of 25, with a growing economy and abundant natural resources like oil, natural gas, gold, uranium, diamonds, copper and many more, takes all eyes on itself.
S-400, Syria, Libya and the eastern Mediterranean
Let us quickly recall the events that caused the escalation of tensions between Turkey and France: The shipment of S-400 missile systems to Turkey in July 2019 and the start of Operation Peace Spring in October 2019 were important turning points, when Turkey moved across the border. The first voice against these developments came from French President Emmanuel Macron. In short, Macron said: “There is no coordination between the United States and other NATO members. We have some common interests in Syria, but NATO member Turkey is taking aggressive actions without any coordination with the other members. The United States has done great damage to the NATO alliance, by abandoning its Kurdish allies in Syria. This aggression on the part of Erdogan has caused great harm to NATO as well,” adding, “We are witnessing a brain death for NATO.”
Türkiye continued its position, which was away from the Atlantic Ocean and towards Asia:
In November 2019, an agreement was signed between Turkey and Libya on the demarcation of maritime borders.
The initiation of oil and gas exploration activities by Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean further strained Turkey’s relations with France in 2020. French President Emmanuel Macron, who supported the Democratic Union Party/PKK in Syria, and General Haftar in Libya and Greece in the eastern sea Mediterranean, I tried to confront Turkey from all sides.
France is concerned about Türkiye
Due to the decline of the United States and the entry of French colonialism into a complete collapse in Africa, especially during the past decade, the main Asian actors such as China, Russia and Turkey embarked on a rapid development in the economic, military and diplomatic fields.
And the French newspaper Le Monde stated that the current Turkish-French conflict has now moved to Africa as well, with an article titled “Increasing Turkish influence in the Sahel raises concern.” The article written by Hannah Armstrong on the International Crisis Group (ICG) website, based on a report published on July 27 of this year, says that France is very concerned about Turkish relations in the Sahel region, which includes Senegal, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali and Nigeria. Turkish relations here go beyond economic relations.
The bilateral defense agreement signed between Niger and Turkey in July 2020 is presented as an example in the article. It was also mentioned in the article that the agreement also includes the deployment of Turkish forces in Niger to train and guide the Nigerian forces, which share borders with Libya, in their fight against the Boko Haram terrorist group, and to secure their borders with Mali and Burkina Faso.
Türkiye occupies the position left by France
It has also been suggested that French annoyance with Turkish interference in Africa was widely expressed by then-Defense Minister Florence Parly herself. In a speech to the French National Assembly, Parly said Turkey was “trying to impose itself in Africa” and trying to discredit France in the meantime.
While the International Crisis Group report confirms that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was the first foreign official to visit the military government in Mali, which overthrew the previous pro-French government headed by Ibrahim Boubacar Keita on August 20 last year, the report also stated that this visit is a sign of support. Turkish coup. This in itself is seen as an attack on the French interests represented by Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta.
Macron had announced on June 10 that he would withdraw the French forces (Barkhane Force), which had been in Mali for nine years to fight “terrorism” in the region. “This change in strategy left space and created opportunities for emerging players like Turkey,” Armstrong said.
And according to the International Crisis Group, this religious connection promoted by Ankara appeals to the people of the Sahel: “Many of them welcomed Turkey as a major international player, and they have more in common with them than with Europe, Russia or China.”