Few Turks knew the name of the Suakin Peninsula before the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Khartoum on December 2017. But it is so important at the geostrategic level that in a short time it has become an object of great rivalry in the region.
Indeed, despite the small area of 70 km², its port is one of the oldest in Africa and its position in the Red Sea is strategic because this sea route is the second largest in the world. Until the beginning of the twentieth century, Suakin was the main port of the region, used both for thetransportation of goods and as a crossing point for pilgrims to Mecca on the opposite coast. But when the British founded Port Sudan in 1905, 60 kilometers further north to accommodate large ships, Suakin was left abandoned.
The anti-Qatar quartet of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have been particularly reluctant to bring Sudan closer to Turkey by actively supporting the overthrow of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have even provided joint financial support of $ 3 billion for the new Khartoum regime. The most important point of disagreement of the quartet with Turkey is undoubtedly its strong cooperation with Qatar to which the four countries imposed an economic embargo in 2017 and where Ankara has a large military base.
It is in such a context of animosity against their regional rival that the media and several social media accounts of the Gulf have launched a campaign of defamation and propaganda against Turkey to exclude it from the region.
The first misinformation concerns the opening of a new military base by Turkey in Suakin, which could close the Turkish strategic triangle in the Red Sea with the Turkish military presence in Somalia and Qatar. This is information formally denied by the Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and unconfirmed by Turkish officials. The quartet also claims that the Turkish-Sudanese agreement is no longer in force. Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said recently that bilateral agreements between Sudan and Turkey remain in force despite the coup, and that the Turkish Agency for Cooperation and Coordination is continuing its work.
CENTER FOR AFRICAN STUDIES
Center for Africa Studies (AFRAM) which located in Ankara, is an organization facilitating under the administration of African Affairs Council (AFAC). It makes various researches about Africa to enhance economic and cultural bounds between Africa and Turkey. AFRAM’s publishings has been shared with different institutions as they require to obtain.
Africa Observatory is one the publishing of AFRAM and it has been published each two weeks. It has been delivered to different institutions via e-mail.