Turkish Humanitarian Assistance During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Focus on Africa

Turhan Y.

Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, vol.26, no.3, pp.327-345, 2024 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 26 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/19448953.2023.2236512
  • Journal Name: Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Historical Abstracts, Humanities Abstracts, Index Islamicus, PAIS International, Political Science Complete, Public Affairs Index, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.327-345
  • Keywords: Africa, Covid-19 pandemic, Humanitarianism, Medical Aid, Public Diplomacy
  • Ankara Haci Bayram Veli University Affiliated: Yes


As the global health crises unfolded a novel phenomenon, COVID-19 related aid has ushered in a new chapter in the development landscape which has currently taken on the interest of scholars. This research probes Turkish humanitarian aid policy in the context of COVID-19 towards sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) for the period of March 2020 to September 2022, by investigating various indicators to establish the relationship between Turkey’s aid behaviour and the recipient’s economic, diplomatic, political and religious standpoint. Scrutinizing sectorial breakdown, the scope of aid and country profiles of Turkey’s medical aid to SSA, it unveils the volatile nature of Turkey’s aid behaviour, at the time of the recent global crises, towards the region which is by its nature located on the fringe of the traditional Turkish foreign policy landscape. Based on the public diplomacy paradigm, this research questions to what extent benevolence humanitarianism was pertinent to Turkey’s medical aid practices during the COVID-19 period? This research claims that humanitarian aid is a potential component of Turkish soft power paradigm, often framed within the public diplomacy context as it fosters a better image to those being represented. Consequently, it purports that Turkey’s medical aid could provide new scope to foster Turkey’s further engagement with Africa, at a time when Ankara already enjoys a strategic partnership in relation to the continent.