Adem Aman Shibu
Türkiye and Sudan Relationship
Historically, Türkiye-Sudan’s relationship has a longstanding since the period of the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century between 1820 - 1885. During the Ottoman era, the governor that has the basis at Ottoman-Egyptian ruling Sudan as well. In modern times the relationship between both countries has deep-rooted by recognizing the independence of Sudan since 1956 the first Embassy of Türkiye commenced operations in Khartoum. In addition, both countries' partnerships are multidimensional including ideology, religious, cultural, historical, political, and economic dimensions at large. The Türkiye-Sudan relationship gets prolific depending on Türkiye's strategy of opening to Africa and the Middle East relying on a foreign policy, especially after 2005. Therefore, Sudan can be one of the crucial African countries due to its geographical and geopolitical status for key strategies including cooperation, coordination, and access to the region.
Sudan has been estimated population of 45.6 million. Sudan's capital city is Khartoum and it is also neighboured by Chad in the West, Central Africa in the North-West, Ethiopia in the South-East, Egypt in the North, Libya in the North-West, South Sudan in the South, Ertirea in the East, and the Red Sea in the North-East. Depending on the rapidly changing geopolitics in the world arena Türkiye has also been strategically inclined towards Africa and the Middle East for two decades.
This paper aims to discuss and highlight the current situation in Sudan and a bilateral relationship with Turkey-Sudan associated with socioeconomic and political dimensions. The paper concludes by giving some insight and suggesting a crucial point to be viable for Sudanese people.
Trade and Investment Opportunities
Due to various reasons, Sudan has walked through political volatility and hardship in social, economic, and political for decades. Therefore, the current Sudanese economic outlook does not look sound good, yet.
Despite a civilian-led government takeover of power- assisted by the military, the economic crisis continued and the world economic freedom of 2022 index report revealed economic freedom score of 32.0. As a result, of this economic freedom report, Sudan ranked 47 among 47 Sub-Sahara Africa countries and 174th ranked at the worldwide stage as well. Meanwhile, in the regional rank of SSA, Mauritius is ranked 1st, Cabo Verde is ranked 2nd, Botswana is ranked 3rd, Cote d’Ivoire is ranked 4th, and Seychelles is ranked fifth with an overall rank score of 70.9, 66.7, 64.8, 61.6, and 61.1 respectively. On the other hand, according to, the economic freedom scores the last five countries' are; the Central Africa Republic 43rd with a score (of 45.7), Eritrea 44th with a score of (39.7), Burundi 45th with a score of (39.4), Zimbabwe 46th with a score of (33.1), respectively as well. So far the Sudan government and Sudanese people can take a lesson from the past crisis to end a civil war and internal dispute that continues for decades as well as to save their country and protect the new generation at large.
Sudan is a natural resource-rich (i.e., oil ) country. Based on the world-odometer report, Sudan's oil reserves rank 23rd with 5 million barrels per day, 48th by oil production, and 68th by oil consumption on the globe. Therefore, Sudan exported $317 million in crude petroleum in 2020 which makes it 53rd in the world. The most importing countries from Sudan are India, the USA, Italy, China, and Indonesia with the amount of $81.7 million, $75 million, $69.4 million, $51.6 million, and $39.7 million respectively.
In the contemporary period, Türkiye-Sudan’s relationship gets stronger relies on strategic agreements deals and high-level diplomats' visits. The signed agreements consist of 12 various MoU and protocols between both countries including several cooperation and investment deals, during the Republic of Türkiye, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s, visit to Sudan on 24-26 December 2017. Then, the volume of Türkiye investments in Sudan was prolific day to day and reached $600 million in 2020. The trade volume between both countries hit $480 million in 2020 which involves manufacturing goods, importing and exporting goods like steel, cement, leather products, home appliance goods, and various machine.
Türkiye has planned to increase the continental trade size to reach $25.3 billion in 2020. In addition, The Turkish International Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) opened its office in Sudan in 2014 to facilitate further investment projects, and the giant bank in the Republic of Türkiye, Ziraat Bank, also operated a branch in Sudan in 2020 to support import-export transaction facility between both countries.
Political Crisis and Security Issues
In the past decades, Türkiye play a key role position across the global arena as well as in terms of opening strategic policy towards Africa, whereas Sudan is one of such countries with a strategic partnership like Suakin Island for mutual benefit. Sudan is the Nile river basin country and it covers the Red Sea in the East as well.
For a long period, Sudan was not stable politically due to civil war for a decade, particularly the Sudan-Darfur conflict estimated hundreds of thousands of people were displaced and a tenth of thousands of people were dead, according to a UN report in December 2022. After the regime change in 2019 due to protest and conflict, the political and economical security process of the new deal of the final phase towards restoring peace under the watch of the UN high commission between the Sudanese military and civil society for stability and security. Consequently, AA reported that on January 08, 2023, Ankara is moving forward to participate in the final stage of ceasing the Sudanese internal conflict and stabilizing the political process in Sudan.
Sudan dispute has not only an internal but also an international border as well that clashes with the Ethio-Sudan border, at the “al-Fashaga” region. The Republic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan offered to mediate between Ethiopia and Sudan dispute by emphasizing the importance of peace and security in the region for geopolitical stability as well.
The main strategic relationship between Türkiye-Sudanese includes defense plans of a joint military activity agreement. Türkiye had a deep drive to establish a naval base in the Red Sea in the region beyond Sudan, whereas, also they had a military base in Somalia for more than decades in the region as well. In this context, Ankara is one of the newly emerging key power actors in the Red Sea as well as a horn of Africa in the twenty-first century.
Conclusion and Remarks
To revive the political violence and economic as well as humanitarian crisis in Sudan, the dominance of some groups or the military monopoly is not accepted in terms of building a genuine democratic state. So far adopting comprehensive reforms are necessary to realize inclusive democracy in Sudan. Therefore, a constructive form of reform is appreciated to reduce violence and decrease the political crisis and establish an enabling environment for peace, security, and stability at large.
The Türkiye strategic foreign policy to Africa, particularly in Sudan and the horn of Africa should be expected to be well understood the regional basic issues in line with socioeconomic, geographical as well as geopolitical problems. In this context, deepening R&D in the region is enhanced for reviewing the foreign policy strategy towards each country of the horn-African, based on their internal and external issues as well as in accordance with the foreign strategic policy, diplomacy relations, and others they follow for mutual benefit.
In conclusion, the Sudanese take a good lesson from the Türkiye peace and security protection strategy as well as new economic models that prioritize promoting investment, more production, increase export, high employment, and low-interest rate to fight inflation as well as creating or revising the best fit own policy and investment strategy in general.