Female diplomats run Türkiye’s relations with Africa: Envoy
PRETORIA - Selçuk Böke
“It is an honor to be a female ambassador in Africa,” said Kandaş, the second after Nur Sağman, the first female ambassador sent to Africa in 2015, noting that Türkiye’s relations with Africa is majorly conducted by female ambassadors.
Kandaş pointed out that women have a very strong role in economic and political life in South Africa.
The number of women ministers and deputies is quite high, as South Africa’s foreign and defense ministers are female, she said, adding that there are too many female company executives.
“When working with women here, having a female ambassador on duty is very beneficial both in terms of Türkiye’s image and easier running of the business,” she said.
It is important in terms of showing that Türkiye also brings women to important positions, she added.
While Türkiye has female ambassadors in nearly 40 countries, women holding the posts in 12 capitals of Africa not only improve diplomatic relations between governments, but also contribute to cultural and humanitarian relations between peoples.
In the East and South Africa region, Ambassador Yaprak Alp to Ethiopia, Ambassador Burcu Çevik to Rwanda, Ambassador İstem Cırcıroğlu to Zambia, Ambassador Meltem Büyükkarakaş to Botswana and Ambassador Feral Çekerek Oruçkaptan to Namibia are representing Türkiye.
Meanwhile, in West and Central Africa, Ambassador Havva Yonca Gündüz Özçeri to Ivory Coast, Ambassador Nilgün Erdem Arı to Burkina Faso, Ambassador Özlem Gülsün Ergün Ulueren to Ghana, Ambassador Esra Demir to Togo and Ambassador Nilüfer Erdem Kaygısız to Gabon represent Ankara.
In the North Africa region, Mahinur Özdemir Göktaş serves as an ambassador to Algeria.
Türkiye’s African policy, which encompasses political, humanitarian, economic, and cultural spheres, is part of its multidimensional foreign policy.
Launched in 1998, Türkiye’s more than two-decade-long Africa opening has observed important turning points.
Türkiye’s bonds with the continent have strengthened after it became an observing member of the African Union in 2005 and a strategic partner of it in 2008.
In 2013, an important step was taken to further improve relations with the continent by the launching of the Africa Partnership Policy.
Türkiye aims to contribute to the economic and social development of the continent with peace and stability, as well as to develop bilateral relations on the basis of equal partnership and mutual benefit.
To this effect, the number of Turkish embassies in Africa has increased from just 12 in 2002 to 43 in 2021.
Meanwhile, trade between Türkiye and Africa has grown in the past 20 years from $5.4 billion to $25.3 billion last year.