NESA Center Alumni Publication
Dr. Arslan Chikhaoui – Geopolitics expert and Chairman of the Consultancy and Studies Center (www.nordsudventures.com) and member of the Istanbul Economic Cooperation Platform (UIP)
26 December 2023
The latest state visit of Turkish President Erdogan to Algeria in mid-November 2023 allowed Algiers and Ankara to consolidate the strategic partnership of their relations. This strategic nature of bilateral relations was sealed last year beside the Africa-Turkey Summit, which was highlighted during the work visit in January 2020 to Algiers by Turkish President Erdogan. It was then agreed to intensify the economic partnership (trade and investment) as well as to strengthen political consultation on regional and international issues. In addition, it was agreed to create a High Level Cooperation Council between Algeria and Turkey with the desire of both parties to set up a free-trade zone. The Algerian-Turkish bilateral relationship undoubtedly falls within the framework of the reshaping of the geostrategic and geo-economics alliances map, which are currently taking place in the shadow of the Russian-Ukrainian politico-military crisis and the Palestinian-Israeli high intensity conflict occurring in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Turkey considers Algeria as the most important economic gateway in the western Mediterranean and in sub-Saharan Africa and therefore would be the natural extension of mutually beneficial development on the African continent. On regional issues, in particular the Western Sahara and the Palestinian matters, the points of view of Ankara and Algiers are converging for the achievement of a political solution under the auspices of United Nations. In the case of the Libyan crisis and low-intensity conflicts in the Sahel, Ankara is supporting Algiers’ position calling for inclusive dialogue and reconciliation aimed at establishing a climate of stability and preventing this space from continuing to be conducive to the development of violent extremist organizations.
The relations between Algeria and Turkey correspond to diplomatic, cultural and economic interactions between the two countries whose origins date back to the regency of Algiers, when Algeria was under the control of the Ottoman Empire. Since the 2000s, relations have been built around key diplomatic questions such as the Palestinian issue, that of Western Sahara and the low-intensity conflict in Libya, in which the two countries are, at present, in agreement through common positions.
According to official statements, Turkish investment projects will be developed in Algeria in the sectors of industry (steel, FMCG, agribusiness), defense, energy and renewable energies, agriculture, tourism and health industries. Turkish companies present in Algeria will continue to invest in promising projects, naming in particular the new project of the Turkish group “Tosyali”, for a total amount of $1.7 billion USD for the production of flat steel in Oran (western province), which will be entered into production before the end of 2023 and will enable exports to the Turkish, European and American markets. The entry into service of this unit will be supported by a dedicated port area at the port of Arzew (30 km from Oran). Another investment project in the agricultural sector is being planned in Adrar (southern region) for a total amount of $20 million USD invested in dairy production and wheat. In addition, the integrated complex of textile trades of the Turkish group “Tayal” of Relizane (western region) will soon launch another local cotton production project to reduce the import of this material, considering that Algeria has significant production capacities and experience dating back to the 1970s.
More than 1,400 Turkish companies are operating in Algeria. Foreign trade between Turkey and Algeria is around $4 billion USD and expected to increase. In terms of direct investment, Turkey has already invested more than $5 billion USD in Algeria, mainly in the steel, chemicals, textiles, pharmaceuticals and construction sectors, creating more than 30,000 jobs. In the field of construction and housing, Turkish companies have carried out 550 infrastructure and housing projects worth $20 billion USD and Algerian-Turkish joint ventures number 1,300. In view of these Turkish direct investments, Algeria is considered as Turkey’s second partner in Africa after Egypt.
In short, Turkey plays a role of primary importance in Africa and is developing its relations with African countries a little more every day. As the Turkish game in the Mediterranean provokes political and diplomatic turbulences, Algeria has become a solid anchor point for Turkey. Ankara has always viewed a foothold in Algeria as a major step in its influence play in Africa. Undoubtedly, Algiers will continue to build on this strategic relationship with Ankara alongside that it maintains with other key players to broaden the scope of its positioning on the African continent.
The views presented in this article are those of the speaker or author and do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or its components.