By Felix Nkambeh Tih, Ecenur Colak, and Adam Abu Bashal
A top South African political expert praised Turkish involvement in Africa, saying that the partnership is based on priorities and ideas from the continent itself, not ones from outside.
“What is good with the Turkey-African partnership is that … it is based on African priorities and it is not imposed. It is based on mutual respect and a win-win situation for both sides,” said Eddy Maloka, who has decades of experience both as an academic and advising South African governments.
Maloka told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview that Turkey does not put pressure on African countries the way some others do.
He also thanked Turkey for promoting investment in Africa, saying: “It is a very good model that we want to encourage other countries in the world to emulate.”
Maloka is currently CEO of the African Peer Review Mechanism, a mutually agreed-on instrument voluntarily acceded to by African Union member states as an African self-monitoring mechanism.
Maloka is in Turkey for a two-day visit on Oct. 25-26.
“Turkey frames their partnership and bases it on African priorities and African approaches and African thinking,” he said.
“We must commend the role that Turkey is playing in Somalia, because not all of us are involved in Somalia. Turkey is one of the few countries in the world that has invested quite strongly in the security, economic development, and construction of Somalia,” he said.
This month Turkey opened its largest base abroad in Mogadishu, the capital of the Horn of Africa nation, for the training of 10,000 Somali security forces. It also provided aid and medical treatment in the wake of the Oct. 14 bombing that took hundreds of lives.
He added that like Somalia, countries such as Burundi, Sierra Leone, and the Central African Republic also need help.
“These are the countries that need a lot of support that I know that Turkey is able to provide,” Maloka said.
‘Africa’s security in African hands’
African countries have to provide solutions to African problems, said Maloka.
“The issue of the African century is very important because it goes together with finding African solutions to African problems. We Africans have to solve our own problems.
“African governments must be governed democratically, there must be good governance, African governments have to represent their people. There must be a very strong political will by African leaders,” Maloka said.
He added that Africa works and acts better when it is united.
“You have to build an Africa that is based on the strong voice of the people. That’s how you make sure that African solutions to African problems isn’t just a dream but a reality.
“The security of Africa is in the hands of Africans themselves.
“Instead of thinking that by having the presence of this force or this [outside peacekeeping] force I am protecting myself, you rather have to think of your own capacity.
“But there is a new phenomenon which is developing now in Africa, you can see it in Western and Central Africa the way some countries are dealing with the issue of Boko Haram. The countries have been able to combine and have joint operation against a common enemy,” he said.
The Multinational Joint Task Force was established in 1994 by Lake Chad Basin countries — Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin — and recently bolstered with the aim of eradicating the terrorist Boko Haram.
Boko Haram, a Daesh-affiliated group based in northeastern Nigeria, has killed tens of thousands and displaced 2.3 million from their homes, according to Amnesty International and the UN, and was ranked the world’s deadliest terror group by the 2015 Global Terrorism Index.
Maloka continued: “There is the situation of Mali, where France intervened militarily [in 2013]. The French force was requested by African states after consultation. It is better when it is requested by African countries collectively.
“The best way for Africans to deal with the issue of the presence of foreign forces is for Africa to operationalize the African standby force,” he added