“Africa belongs to the Africans… We are not here for your gold.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke these words during a visit he made years ago to countries in Africa.
What he said was a prelude to Ankara’s incursion into Africa to control its resources. This first started in Senegal, but then Turkey concluded agreements with Niger to build military bases in Libya’s southern neighbor, seeking to support the Government of National Accord (GNA) militias in Tripoli by mobilizing new mercenaries from the south.
On July 21, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoglu met Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou, Prime Minister Brigi Rafini, and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation, African Integration and Nigeriens Abroad Kalla Ankourao.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry revealed that Çavuşoglu’s visit to Niger witnessed the signing of a military cooperation agreement between the two countries, in addition to signing a financial aid protocol, a cooperation agreement for military training, and a cooperation agreement in the field of youth and sports.
The signing of military agreements with Libya’s southern neighbors is in support of the GNA militias. This agreement also enables the Turkish government to gain access to the depths of Africa.
Media reports have confirmed that the Turkish regime signed a military agreement with Niger and is preparing to announce similar agreements with other countries bordering Libya, such as Chad, in the context of Ankara’s attempts to tighten its control over Libya and move into Africa.
Erdogan threw the bait of aid and investments, starting in Senegal, where he has visited three times since 2016. Over the past ten years, Turkey has become a commercial partner for Dakar in special infrastructure projects, which reflects his expansionary and colonial ambitions. Ankara has obtained bids to implement major infrastructure projects, including the construction of the Abdo Diouf International Convention Center, the Dakar Sports Arena, and the Radisson Hotel Dakar Diamniadio, in addition to the new city located 30 km from the capital. Turkey has also participated in the implementation of the regional express train and the management of Blaise Diagne International Airport for 25 years.
Ankara has strongly begun to infiltrate the uranium-rich country of Niger, where the Turkish government initially invested through the Soma Group and won huge contracts in the country, most notably the construction of the new Niamey capital airport at a cost of €154 million. It also completed construction work for the capital’s Radisson Blu Hotel at a value of approximately €45 million, according to a report by the French website Le Monde Afrique.
The Turkish company also won the construction tender for the Ministry of Economy and Finance in Niger, with a value exceeding €31 million, as well as the renovation of the Conference Palace in Niamey for €6 million. But the real development there is aimed at bringing the uranium-rich country under Turkish control and controlling the Imouraren mine, which produces 5,000 tons of uranium per year, taking advantage of the closure of the former Orano-Areva company after the price of uranium crashed in the global market.