PerspectiveTurkey and the new scramble for Africa: Ottoman designs or unfounded fears?

Published 20 May 2019

Turkey features regularly in new debates about foreign influence in the Horn of Africa region, as does speculation about its motives. While Ankara fashions itself a benevolent power driven by an “enterprising and humanitarian” foreign policy, Gulf rivals say President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s moves in the Horn reflect a dangerous quest for a “neo-Ottoman” revival. Does Ankara have grand designs on the region, or have its ambitions been overstated? Zach Vertin writes in Lawfare that in confronting this question, three vantage points are helpful: a close look at its recent activity in Horn states, a medium-range focus on regional competition with Gulf rivals, and a wide-angle assessment of Turkish foreign policy making at a time of extraordinary domestic change.