Turkey’s Foreign Aid to Africa: An Analysis of the Post-July 15 Era

Turhan Y.

Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, vol.23, no.5, pp.795-812, 2021 (Scopus) identifier


© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.The volume of Turkish aid and its geographic coverage have undergone a process of change following the Arab Uprisings and the foiled coup d’état of July 15. This article primarily addresses the latter event, as with the former’s influence foreign aid relations became more tight-knit with Turkey’s immediate neighbours yet fell apart in areas such as sub-Saharan Africa. Considering the period between 2013 and 2018, this paper seeks the key determinants behind Turkish foreign aid behaviour in sub-Saharan Africa by asking whether the (non)existence of Gülenist schools in recipient states exerted agency in the disbursement of Turkey’s aid flow. Based on bilateral foreign aid disbursement and the Turkish Maarif Foundation’s educational landscape in sub-Saharan Africa, this paper has found that although the recipient state’s cooperation with Turkey on the matter of Gülenist schools is a variable of moderate importance in gauging the volume of Turkish aid, there is no monolithic Turkish foreign aid orientation towards the countries collaborating with Turkish authorities to transfer the management of these schools and those that do not. This orientation has been firmly motivated by humanitarianism and has thus assured continuity in the context of humanitarian aid following July 15.