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Ethiopia And Turkey Looking To The Future

ADDIS ABABA, January 23, 2015: A red carpet has been stretched out at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn and other senior officials waited to welcome a special guest. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish President arrived to a warm welcome.

This was the first time for me to see him person and shake hands; it was quite an inspirational encounter.

In what seemed like a family, as well as an official, visit, President Erdoğan arrived in Ethiopia accompanied by his wife and daughter. I was flattered when the coordinator of the welcoming ceremony introduced me to Erdoğan, jokingly saying that I was a media minister, before he seriously introduced me as a journalist from The Anadolu Agency. On Thursday, the second day of the visit to Ethiopia, I got another chance for a close encounter with Erdoğan.

His speech in the several occasions confirm that the Turkish president has a special place in his heart for Africa, in particular for Ethiopia. He emphasized Turkey’s “special ties with Africa, in particular Ethiopia, since the ancient times” adding that the relation is not based on narrow interest but genuine relations with Ethiopia that we “call Al-Habesha” which “is the first country to accept Islam.”

Erdoğan described the support that Turkey gives to Ethiopia as strategic “technological assistance so that [Ethiopia] will manage to benefit from its natural resources.” He further said, “We think that what we contribute to Ethiopia is very little compared to our love for the country.”

Erdogan visit will certainly help to enhance existing ties between Ethiopia and Turkey as well as Africa in general.

Describing Ethiopia as Turkey’s gateway to Africa and a very important historic country, the visiting Turkish president said that it dates back “to the Ottoman era and it is not a newly established relation.”

The self-confidence of the Turkish President is so obvious due to the fact that his nation is rising to the global power circle wielding historical, economic and political power, and it shows in the way he speaks his mind in a confident and candid spirit foretelling where Turkey could stand in the future.

Turkey, one of the major investors in Ethiopia, is an important development partner for Ethiopia which itself is advancing with the confidence and changing the nation. The delight that Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam exhibited in receiving his Turkish guest attests to that. And PM Hailemariam is capable of making such relations fruitful, he has excellent leadership qualities he of his own and I a chance to witness it first hand at several occasions. For instance, when he was the chair of the African Union in 2013, where all African leaders admired his qualities.

I also attended the Afro-Arab meeting that was held in Kuwait in November, 2013, and which Prime Minister Hailemariam chaired, and where he expressed his vision for the special Afro-Arab relations, and identified the challenges ahead. He is a charismatic leader endowed with self-confidence and patience.

President Erdogan’s meeting with the Ethiopian leader focused in particular on Turkey’s relations with Ethiopia in particular and Africa in general. On Thursday, the Turkish president delivered a speech at Addis Ababa University (AAU), Ethiopia’s oldest higher learning institute, and addressed international issues. After the event, AAU awarded him an honorary doctorate degree.

The AAU has honored world leaders in the past, including former South African President Nelson Mandela, former US President Jimmy Carter, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Egypt’s former President Gamal Abdel Nasser, among others.

Speaking about terrorism, Erdogan said that terror has no religion and is a form of murder against which all countries should take a united stand. Referring to the Jan. 7 attack on Charlie Hebdo in France, he said, “There has been a surge in anti-Islam sentiments not only in Europe, but all over the world following the recent terrorist attack against a magazine in Paris.” He added, “Turkey strongly condemned the attack and will continue to do so… as a country that fought terrorism for 40 years, we are totally against this violence no matter who commits it, where or under what pretense.” He also described the acts of terrorism committed by ISIS in Syria as “murder,” stressing that it is essential to adopt a united approach and fight jointly against all terrorist groups.

Erdoğan objected to attacking religious beliefs for terrorism, and condemned the term “Islamic terrorism” explaining, “We object to this term… Nobody can utter the words Islam and terror together, as Islam, both in name and in essence, means peace.”

To elaborate his message, he added, “There was an act of terror in Somalia today… If they say it was committed in the name of Islam, there is no such thing in Islam. A true Muslim would not commit suicide. Who are the killed people? They are Muslims too.”

President Erdogan said that he wishes to elevate the Turkish Ethiopian relation from inter-government relations only, to the people to people level. During Erdoğan’s term, the destination of Turkish Airlines has increased to 42 African countries. Also, the Afro-Turkish meeting was also held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea with the support of President Erdogan.

Ethiopia has a big role in Africa and Turkey stands 17th in the world economy and has a rich experience in water technology and power generation, among others. The visit of the Turkish president to current Addis Ababa is expected to further boost the ties between the two countries.

President Erdogan is scheduled to visit Djibouti and Somalia on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

About Mohammed T. Tewekel

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  • Nitricc

    The most amount honest and eye opening video from Aljazeera. When PIA keep saying Eritrea is not for sell; watching this investigative African fake development made me understand what PIA is talking about. The question is where are the Africans?
    The question I have is; Is Eritrea isolated or saved?

    http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/empire/newscrambleforafrica/2014/07/new-scramble-africa-2014723203324932466.html

  • Turkey has invested more than 3b dollars in Ethiopia, created more than 50,000 jobs, and the trade exchange between the two countries has increased to more than 400m. The economy was one of the issues Erdogan used to be re-elected. Per capita income is increasing, GDP increased by about 6% until 2011 (while Europe was in deep economic crisis since 2008), and international reserve and trade volume are increasing as well. Many Turkish firms are among
    international constructors (Awash-Waldiya railway to be construction being one) etc. Nobody is saying that Turkey was not affected by the world recession, but it resisted.
    Anyway, theory and facts are two different things, and we have to wait until the real thing of the collapse of the Turkish economy happens, as per your prediction. As much as I am
    concerned, the above are not signs of a collapsing economy, and we cannot heap on Turkey all the factors that brought the economic crisis in Europe and the US, years after its occurrence.

  • The secular socialist republic

    Mohamed Taha Tewakel works for the Turkish government’s news agency and is very close to the Ethiopian government.
    These two facts make him a journalist with a biased perception of reality.
    He’s no better than Shaebia’s ERI-TV.
    How can one be so blind about Erdogan ?
    The Turkish president wants to turn Turkey into a major capitalist country.
    Therefore, he needs countries as Ethiopia to provide cheap labour and cheap lands to transform Ethiopians so that they become Turkey’s external proletariat.
    How can one who supports AlNosra in Syria and whose passivity towards ISIS is direct support to international terrorism be given a doctorate honoris causa ?
    This man – and leaders preceeding him – have been denying Kurds basic rights such as the use of their language and self-determination be portrayed as a great leader of our times.
    As a Leninist, I suppor every Eritrean nationality’s right to self-government.
    Eritreans that criticze Isaias simply cannot praise Erdogan !!!!

  • Eri Centric

    rather a Propaganda Minister::

    It is astonishing how the editor/s or clique at awate.com compromise national sovereignty and interest supposedly to tarnish the image of PIA or PFDJ.

    Not long ago November 2012 when a Turkish delegation was visiting the Horn of Africa and the Turkish delegation was in its way to Eritrea from Ethiopia [ But due to the two countries no flight relationship the Turkish delegation had to travel to Kenya to get to Eritrea] How did awate.com broke the news..”Eritrea Requests Turkish Mediation” http://awate.com/eritrea-requests-turkish-mediation/ But in reality what Eritrea and Turkey done and announced is the creation of full diplomatic relations including an embassy in Asmara, Turkish Airline service to Eritrea, Business Forum in Asmara..etc…. So who is treating the Masses like bewildered sheep?

  • Turkey and Israel are the two main military powers of the region. Despite the economic crisis and recession in Europe, Turkey’s economy is robust and growing. Nevertheless, it has yet to trickle down and benefit people living especially in Eastern Turkey. Erdogan is an Islamist, a very ambitious person and nostalgic of the great Ottoman Empire. Recently he built and moved to a palace with 1200 rooms, which cost the Turkish state 600m dollars. Turks call him the modern-day Sultan. Through the strength of the Turkish economy, political power and (may be military power as well), he wants to create the past influence the Ottoman Empire had over the region. After central Asian and Middle Eastern countries, it seems that Africa is the next target for the growing Turkish influence. Late comers, such as China, India, turkey, and some Arab countries are trying their chances in Africa. A resourceful continent and a one billion consumer-market are not to be ignored.

    Egypt and Turkey do not seem to be on good terms, Turkey supported the GERD, during the time Egypt was running around to get support against the dam from Western capitals. Turkey wants to replace Egypt in Africa, and this is one of the reasons Egyptians are talking of the Africa they had forgotten for so long, and they should engage.

    Turkey is one of the main foreign investors in Ethiopian economy. I think that they are mainly engaged in textile industry. I am not sure, if they have acquired an industry-park yet, and if they have started building the Awash-Woldiya railway. Their commitment in Ethiopia is big, and they see Ethiopia as a springboard for the rest of Africa. It is nice that Ethiopia is attracting FDI from all directions, and she has become an important gateway to Africa.

    • Abinet

      Selam Horizon
      I think the industrial park where they want to build 45 different factories outside addis is on hold because of environmental reasons . The location is close to a river. I think they are looking for another site.

    • abdulnur

      Any one welcame than the mafia group or blod sucker government.

  • Natnael

    ‘The self-confidence of the Turkish President is so obvious due to the
    fact that his nation is rising to the global power circle wielding
    historical, economic and political power, and it shows in the way he
    speaks his mind in a confident and candid spirit foretelling where
    Turkey could stand in the future.’

    Weyy gudd, seems that mister tewekel is not that good in basic economics. Why on earth one would call Turkey’s economic bubble impressive is beyond me. Yes a bubble, that’s how Turkey’s economy can be summarized. Turkey has benefited from the Quantitative Easing program of the FED, with trillions of cheap USD needing a place where they can make good money. Turkey’s interest rates over the last few years ensured it would be a primary target for this ‘hot money’. Domestically all this resulted in a huge credit growth and a property bubble. Just a few numbers that will give you a good insight on Turkey’s ‘miracle’.

    Loans to the private sector have quadrupled over the last six years despite real GDP growing by only 30% (mainly due to the growth of debt). Almost all corporate debt is FX (foreign currency denominated). With strong depreciation of the Turkish Lira very likely now that the US QE program has ended, this will immediately increase the debt outstanding. Furthermore the external debt of Turkey increased almost threefold and about one third of this has a short maturity. This huge debt to be payed in the coming year is a problem exacerbated now that QE gone and rising interest rates are likely. Turkey has a big current account deficit (imports more than it exports) and while lower oil prices will probably help to decrease this deficit somewhat, a depreciating Lira against the USD will offset much of this (oil is denominated in USD).

    But perhaps the most important indicator that Turkey has a unstable economy that will crash in the coming period is the consumer spending indicators. This indicator makes up more than two thirds of the economy and has grown rapidly. Most of it was financed by debt of course with the influx of all the QE money into Turkey. Personal loans, credit card loans, household debt and property prices have skyrocketed and because of that Turkey’s economy has skyrocketed. But as they say, what goes up, must come down. And when it comes to Turkey’s economy, prepare for crash landing.

    I think that Turkey is still an important player and can be helpful to extremely poor African countries like Eri/Ethio/Djibouti/Somalia/Sudan, but these countries are so poor and weak that even a small player can make a big difference. I presume that awate and mister Tewekel were exited due to Turkey being a (sunni) Islamic super power. But they forgot that that is not too hard. If Turkey were a European super power I would be impressed, but me thinks that the awate staff would disagree with me then. Good luck with your indebted brothers and make sure mister Tewekel that you ask Erdogan why he calls the Israelis worse than Nazi’s, but continues to have strong trade ties with them (Turkey-Israel trade is at an all time high). At the end of the day as they say, barking dogs don’t bite. xxxxx xxxx xxxxx xxxx xx xxxxx.

  • Mahmud Saleh

    “I was flattered when the coordinator of the welcoming ceremony introduced me to Erdoğan, jokingly saying that I was a media minister, before he seriously introduced me as a journalist from The Anadolu Agency.”

    • Semere Andom

      Hi Mahmud:
      Who does not want to dismantle EPLF, those of us who think that dcoup is the best option is to lessen the blood shed may happened courtesy PFDJ/EPLF not out of love of it. We do not interfere/care about how Turkey is no just and also Ethiopia should not, rem their not in the freedom fighter/Tegadalai and yes we have Eritrean by the name of Tewekel if you are wondering and he escaped PFDJ’s prison at the last minutes.and TPLF is not detaining him. I would love an entity that give me refuge while my own government want to kill me. I am not sure about his POWERFUL love of TPLF but what I know is that the powerful affection of TPLF was not inveted by him, he maybe standing on the shoulders of those giants who were innovators of that intense love for TPLF, someone must be proud for mentoring him, hadgi gedifom:-)

      • Mahmud Saleh

        Semere Hfoonay

        Think of how to get PFDJ “reformed”, ኣይቃለይን፡ ብጻይ ተጋዳላይ ኣማንኤል ምጽጋን ሕማቕ ኣይኮነን ኢሉ። OK, forget about EPLF for now.

        “So, you don’t interfere/care about how Turkey is not just..” did I say you have to interfere? But as a curious reader, and yes as a justice seeker, I care when facts are twisted to the benefit of oppressors. He is the head of an oppressive government which denied millions the right to exercise their languages, their cultural heritage..not to even claim they are Kurds. When he calls them terrorists, doesn’t that bother you? Where is the zeal for justice Ya abu Noah? Even your enemies deserve Justice. That’s why I wanted to highlight this oppressive ruler’s misrepresentation. If you agree with him, that’s your take. Deep in my heart, something tells me you just stated it driven by the impulse of responding, you are a good guy, you know about the plight of the Kurdish people. ኣብ ልብኻ ተመለስ። ግን ምሕለፋ።

        The last part, glad he is safe, no question about that. But the reportage was so poor, you can sift through the assuasive descriptions and you know the man is not reporting but making a PR pitch.

        Aha, “…he maybe standing on the shoulders of those giants who were innovators of that intense love for TPLF, someone must be proud for mentoring him, hadgi gedifom:-)” You mean meraHti hzbawi gnbar (aka shaEbia)? Of course, are you kidding.

        • Semere Andom

          Hi Mahmud:
          Of course I care about how Turkey treats is citizens. I hope you do not doubt that and I do hope you know that Ethiopia should stop it bilateral relationship and whatever that relationship benefits its nation, remember economics applies to politics, ” we do not get our dinner from the goodness of the butcher, bread maker or brewer, but because of their selfish self interest.”. But I know you were talking about the article and I took it to the next level blame it on the Sudanese “mubalaqa”, hyperbole;-)
          I wish Eritrea was in the position Ethioipia is and writer like you would OPED on the pages of a news paper called “Adbir Adna” and criticize Eritrea’s going to bed with the murderers of Kurdish, that angle I was trying to tackle Hamada.
          Also know if you do not remember that I am fond of saying in many comments, if we do not give justice to the criminals (read PFDJ) we are not giving justice to those wronged by them. I said giving due process to them is something we should not compromise about. I am not sure why I am quoting myself but Sal would say that because I am YGist: Tell him if you see him that my NY resolution that is posed on my desk is “ni sal fesh mbal eyu”, mehaza men diye 😉
          Good night

          • Mahmud Saleh

            Good job Sem A
            My point was not so much about Turkey/Ethiopian relationship. You know turkey is among the first investors in Ethiopia. He did not even give us a glimpse o f the scope which would serve as a back ground for his readers. You noticed the mubalaqah/or exaggeration common in the region’s journalistic works, particularly, your Sudan. I like the style awate.com uses, they give you a background and links if you want to dig deeper.

  • So What

    At a minimum the author should have linked his observations to Eritrea’s situation if relevant –if not the whole essay is misplaced.. If I remember the author is an Eritrean, however, just because he was covering the trip of the Turkish president to Ethiopia as a journalist it does not make it newsworthy on this website. By the way I have no ill will toward Ethiopia- I just made a trip on its airline through Addis– even if it was a transit connection I was impressed by the airline service, Addis’ buildings and roads even if it was a panoramic view from the plane- some of their civil servant at the arrival gate looked at me strangely when I told them I was only making a connection but were polite enough and told me which gate to follow.. If I had time I would have visited Addis and if I have to guess it would have taken me to a memory lane of my youth years.

  • T..T.

    Nitricc and Nakfa,

    What about if this visit was a product of a series of attempts by Qatar to bring the East African countries closer without negotiation through economic incentives? This is not the first time. We have the same plan
    again. It was tested in Yemen, Sudan and Djibouti. And now, as always, is planned to somehow benefit Isayas by softening Ethiopian and Somali stands against their enemies.

    So, if you trust Qatar you must trust Turkey’s Erdogan because he is the closest friend of Qatar.

  • Nitricc

    So how is this news related to Eritrea?hmmmm? AT can you help here? Why do i want to know and care what happen between Ethiopia and other country?
    What the point of the post?
    A Muslum Etitrean gets to meet the toothless Turkush presidant?
    I mean what is the point?
    It is one thing some comnents on the comment section but to put it on front page, simply reducless. I never belived you an agenda but thanks sowing the seed of doubt in my mind. For the record i am stinch defender of this web site. Not that you need my defens but i belived in you. Hmmm
    Why do i have to know about this news?

  • Kokhob Selam

    Dear Nakfa, this is just a news. If Eritrean “government” makes by mistake such type of history, someone can just put the way Tewkel put it. I don’t know why you think the website is an Ethiopian website or is abusing our hero Awate. All you and me should do is announce clearly the truth that our “government” is not doing fine in managing both external and internal maters and come up with solution.