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Pazar, Mayıs 26, 2024

Turkey- Africa Relations Continues Growing Stronger in Media

General Director of R.T. Prime Ministry Press and Information General Directorate Murat Karakaya mentioned the roots of the relations between Africa and Turkey in an interview made by Africa Times. Karakaya talked about the Turkey-Africa Media Forum which aims to strengthen the affairs among Turkey and Africa and to discuss the problems and the opportunities in detail. He talked about the Forum’s actions, goals and the contributions to the partnership of both countries.

I want to begin with the Turkey-Africa Media Forum. What were the motives behind your establishing this media forum?

The foreign policy gets complicated in accordance with the dizzying variations experienced in our world and it becomes more intricate. Catching up this fastforward change and timely taking required steps has become an obligatory issue for decision makers. Within the frame of multi-dimensional foreign policy implemented by Turkey which is actually an Afro-Eurasian country, “Expansion to Africa Action Plan” was created in 1998 with an intention to deepen our political, cultural and economic cooperation with African countries. Again in this respect, in 2003, Foreign Trade Undersecretary prepared a document titled “Strategy for Development of Economic Relations with African Countries” was prepared and afterwards the year of 2005 was determined as the African Year by the government. In 12 April 2005, Turkey gained observer status in the African Union. For the purpose of evaluation of the relations with African countries and deciding what to do next in the future, Turkey-Africa Cooperation Summit I was held in İstanbul between the dates of 18-21 August in 2008. By the way in December 2010, Senior Officers’ Meeting was held in İstanbul and “Turkey-Africa Cooperation Shared Application Plan” which is a roadmap covering 2010-2014 was accepted in this meeting.

Press and Information General Directorate, which is Turkish Republic’s one of the  public institutions, defined its mission as keeping up with the international media, feeding decision processes with punctual and accurate information, contributing to the introduction of our country and developing respective communication strategies. It continues studying to create a truthful perception of Turkey before the world, and to become a referential enterprise for a strong and independent press. Forums held in various geographies in contact with national and international enterprises are of the  important studies performed by our General Directorate. In 21-22 December 2010 Turkish Speaking Countries Media Forum, in 2-3 May 2011 Balkan States Media Forum, 30 November-1 December 2011 Turkish-Arab Media Forum, the issues such as the condition of media sector in the regions, mutual regional and international affairs, journalists contributing to the permanent peace and stability were evaluated by the  and opinion leader. Our General Directorate, acknowledging the multi-dimensional foreign policy of Turkey towards African countries, organized Turkey-Africa Media Forum to be supportive behind Turkish foreign policies as the leading institution of the media sector, to announce Turkey’s “African Initiative” nationally and internationally, to increase cooperation within the sector upon taking supports of Foreign Affairs Ministry and African Media Initiative (AMI), under Vice Prime Minister Bülent Arınç’s care.

What were your expectations after the conclusion of Turkey- Africa Media Forum and have you managed to reach these goals?

Turkey-Africa Media Forum was held for the purpose of improving relations among Turkey and Africa, and to discuss problems and the opportunities in detail. Finally this forum prepared a final declaration about the issues which we put on our agenda.

We have a consensus on the establishment of a media forum in order to continue our works and sustain the exchange of opinions.

Turkey-Africa Media Forum aims to establish a common future for the countries in the region, to improve the power of media which can promote economic welfare and our people’s improvement, to share an idea of peaceful world which adopts tolerance and brotherhood between cultures and directs the future along with democratic values, from Universal Declaration of Human Rights to Helsinki Final Act, to emphasize the importance of the independence of  which is mentioned in every document, to strengthen bonds among media  of attendant states of forum, to develop regional and international partnership and strengthen democratic culture, in order for the constant work of communication channels, establish a common platform for regional media consultations’ institutionalization and the support of the mutual interest, to establish a journalist exchange program in the presence of our General Directorate and AMI, to build a mechanism to ease the access to technical devices and other devices of African media organizations and to improve African media sector.

How did the Turkey-Africa Media Forum contribute to the co-operational development of the media organizations of the states?

Turkey-Africa Media Forum, which is an important step for Turkey’s expansion to Africa, provides a proper basis for the development of the relations among media members of both countries.

In the Final Declaration accepted at the end of the forum, importance of the healthy and continual relations among media organizations of Turkey and African states were mentioned and reinforcing the cooperation and dialogue procedures was the concluding decision.

One of the concrete steps for the future was to establish a shared organization for the institutionalization of Turkish and African media consultations and members. The second one was to establish a journalist exchange program and the third one was, in the presence of our General Directorate and AMI, to build a mechanism to ease the access to technical devices and other devices of African media organizations and to improve African media sector. The cooperation process began between the General Directorate and AMI and Turkey-Africa Media  and upon the success of the forum it continued and developed. This forum moved one step forward with the attendance of Vice Prime Minister Bülent Arınç as honor guest to the annual African Media Leaders Forum which was held in Dakar (Senegal) in 8-9 November 2012. In this forum, “the Declaration on the Establishment of Turkey- Africa Media Platform” and “Media Member Exchange Protocol” were signed by our General Directorate and AMI. With the help of the  visit, two out of 3 concrete steps taken, which are the declaration of the establishment of Turkey- Africa Media Platform and signing of the exchange protocol by our General Directorate and a media member in AMI’s care, were signed.

Considering your studies, what does Africa mean for you and what kind of a factor is media in Turkey-Africa relations?

The expansion to Africa, which was initiated in 2005 by the government, the cultural bonds, the agreements, and performed and planned projects show the importance of Africa in Turkish Foreign Policies. This is an outcome of Turkish Foreign Policy’s getting deeper in different geostrategic fields and Africa’s increasing importance in the 21st century.

From 15th to 19th century, the Ottoman Empire maintained close relations with Africa. These relations continued not only with North Africa but also with the Republic of South Africa, as it is in the example of Abu Bakr Effendi being sent by Abdülaziz in 1862. In Niger’s Adagez Sultanate, in Friday prayer people still prays to the Ottoman Sultans and it shows how deep our cultural bonds are.

Our General Directorate, believing the fact that history will turn into a profit only with a futuristic vision, stands in an intermediative position for the “direct talk” between Turkey and Africa. We believe that  will be on the rise in the 21st century with its rich natural sources.

Number of the African press members, either invited by us or came with their own means, were 8 in 200, 11 in 2005, 83 in 2011 and 285 in 2012. As of 2013, 34 diplomatic representatives of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, 9 coordination offices of Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) and all projects performed in 34 countries and 4 press undersecretaries of our General Directorate have been continuing their studies. Thanks to the Turkey-Africa Media Forum, over 300 press members from 54 African states came together; and thus, a tremendous communication platform was established in relation with the issue of building a politically stable, prosperous and democratic Africa that is defined as a target for Turkey’s regional foreign policy.

Most important functions of the media are; transmitting information and news, instructing and contributing in the education, creating awareness and  creating a public opinion and agenda and socializing people even in an indirect way by making them  to each other. Media has a vital role in the process of Turkey’s expansion to Africa. Media contributes to the communication by uniting people in a common issue and reference. Turkey’s historically grounded cultural relations with Africa would create a common background and it will underlie a base for close partnership in future.

* This article was taken from “Africa Time” magazine (November 2014 Edition) by demanding all necessary permissions for copyright.

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