Turkey, Russia and China appear to be taking an increasingly bigger role in Africa, as well as the Middle East, as Western countries reduce their footprint in the continent, analyst Seth Frantzman wrote in the Jerusalem Post in Sunday.
Turkey is engaged in drone sales to Ethiopia, while playing a role in Somalia, Mali the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) and Libya, Frantzman wrote, where in some cases extremist groups are turning to Ankara for financial deals.
There have been reports of the Ethiopian government using Turkish drones against rebel fighters in the country, where a year-long war between the government and the leadership of the northern Tigray region, among Africa’s bloodiest conflicts, has killed thousands of civilians and displaced millions.
Turkish defence exports to Ethiopia surged to almost $95 million in the first 11 months of 2021, from virtually nothing last year, according to Exporters’ Assembly data.
In October, Turkish Parliament ratified a motion extending troop deployment in Mali and the C.A.R. for another year amid President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Africa tour.
Extremist groups growing in Nigeria and across a swath of countries could possibly be turning to Russia or Turkey or other countries for “military deals that could mean advisers or contractors,” according to the analyst.
Meanwhile, countries like the United States and the France are drawing down in places across Africa, leaving open a vacuum that can be filled by the like of Russia, Turkey, China and even Iran, Frantzman wrote.
“Whether those countries will clash over influence or coordinate in these countries remains to be seen,’’ the analyst said. “What is symbolic is how this slow-moving shift is increasingly part of the broader tensions between Moscow and the West.’’