Bosphorus-Dodoma nexus: President Samia forging better diplomatic ties with Ankara

TANZANIA: PEACE at home, peace in the world. The words of Mustapha Kemal Aturtuk stand significant in the 21st century’s new diplomatic chapter in the foreign policies of Tanzania and Turkey, as the President’s jet has touched down in Ankara Esenboga International airport, making a new milestone since the past 14 years of a Tanzanian President visiting Turkiye.

Considering the prospects of a nation that is pragmatically operating its foreign policy amidst new waves of a changing world order, Türkiye and Tanzania enjoy commendable multilayered relations built upon mutual respect and benefit, it is equally clear that Tanzanian businessmen, particularly on textile and house building materials see Turkiye as the gate away in the modern climate of economic business opinion, amidst new consensus among scholars of International relations that Turkish Foreign policy between the early 1920s to the late 2000s is divided into four periods.

An Interwar period of 1923-1945, the Cold War era of 1945-80s, the period of the new world order circa 1990s and the Justice and Development Party era, also known as the AK Party era of 2000s. These periods differ from each other but are vital in understanding the contemporary Turkiye, and how such understanding shapes the New Chapter that President Samia Suluhu Hassan, is embarking in modern times of Turkiye – Tanzania diplomatic relations.

In the old days there was a famous saying for the Tanzanian diplomatic position, that stated “the country is punching above its weight”. From nonaligned movement to President Samia’s pragmatic foreign policy approach if we must regain our mid income status on the global scale, the days of taking a timid position in foreign affairs are over.

It is imperative to pursue an active policy based on contemporary economic needs and here-Turkiye is a significant partner. In historical dimensions, President Samia Suluhu Hassan visit is the demonstration of the significance attached to relations by both brotherly countries, in which the last President of Tanzania who visited Türkiye was Dr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete in 2010. President Samia’s visit, marks the fourth highestlevel visits of our respective countries following the official visit paid by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Tanzania in 2017, during the late President John Pombe Magufuli’s administration.

Türkiye highly values her relationship with Tanzania not only in words but also in action. Steadily increasing bilateral trade volume, expanding legal framework catalysing the already robust partnership, various direct investments in different sectors, assistance in Tanzania’s path for development are some of the few examples in this aspect.

Why this visit is important from an economic point of view

The visit is highly regarded for following reasons: Tanzania has a significant importance within Türkiye’s Africa Policy and therefore Turkiye desires to deepen political and economic ties with Tanzania. Further, mutual trade to Türkiye was $34,9 million but with the President in Turkey, higher numbers are expected to reduce this trade imbalance following the visit.

Investment opportunity

For Tanzania economic development, investment is an important aspect. Today Turkish companies have $414,23milion worthy of investment within the country in various sectors from transport to tourism and employ more than 6000 Tanzanians.

Turkish investment in Zanzibar in the tourism sector amounts to $96.4million with more than 700 vacancies created. In this frame of investment, infrastructure development is also among the economic impact of Turkish investments.

Consider the new Standard Gauge Railway SGR, project with billions of dollars of budget. Further beneficial contract signed for shipyard and ship building in Lake Tanganyika and Victoria, road and stadium constructions in Zanzibar are some of the biggest projects undertaken by Turkish companies in the country.

The modern international system continues to change. For Tanzania to directly integrate into the global economy, markets for Tanzanian goods are needed, but diplomatic ties are needed to build an industrial base that sustains our economic restructuring process and for diplomatic partners including Turkiye whose long-standing diplomatic history has evolved through the years.

Samia connecting home businesses to Turkish corporate networks

President Samia was expected to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan followed by a meeting of delegations lead by the Heads of State in Ankara on 18 April. For business connections President Samia is expected to move to İstanbul for Türkiye-Tanzania Business Forum, to be held on the 19th of April, in which businesspeople from various sectors gather and look for ways to establish investment and business relations within both countries.

The highlight of the forum will be the President’s exclusive meeting with limited number of selected Turkish businesspeople, to promote Tanzania market and investment opportunities. This strengthens cooperation and reflects on where our two countries came from.

ALSO READ: Tanzania, Türkiye commit to boost trade, investments

Our long-standing diplomatic relationships were established since 1963, and an official diplomatic mission opened in 1979, when Türkiye opened its Embassy in Dar es Salaam, until its closure in 1984. However, the Turkish Embassy was reopened again in 2009, and our Tanzanian Embassy in Ankara started working in 2017. Therefore, our President’s visit in Türkiye is to diversify our country’s international trade options. At the same time, keep our diplomatic relations on the upswing.

We need to attract international capital, and because Turkey has achieved impressive transformation, with the right-thinking strategies in the implementation of proper investment policy, Tanzania can achieve its international trade goals. President Samia’s visit to Turkey is not just a diplomatic event; it is a new chapter and a symbol of our shared aspirations for a prosperous and interconnected world.

Let us seize this moment to chart a course toward greater cooperation, understanding, and mutual benefit. For in the words of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, “Peace at home, peace in the world.” It is with this vision that we embark on this new chapter in Turkey-Tanzania relationship.

As President Samia is expected to leave Türkiye on 21st of April, our international position requires a decent economy. And to get that economy, our foreign policy stance in the post nationalism era is a foreign policy of strategic pragmatism, and no government has shown that more than President Samia Suluhu Hassan. The visit will solidify the bonds between Türkiye and Tanzania by fruitful outcomes. Long live Tanzania- Türkiye camaraderie.

The writer is an International Affairs analyst and columnist who is also an advocate of the High Court of Tanzania. Mobile: +255747130688, email: novartigoshaj@ gmail.com.

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