Sudan–Turkey relations

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Sudan – Turkey relations
Map indicating locations of Turkey and Sudan



Sudan and Turkey have enjoyed a relatively close relationship, owning by previous historical links between two countries since the Ottoman Empire. Due to this historical tie, Sudan and Turkey share an Ottoman legacy, though little comparing to other Arab states.

History before mid-20th century[edit]

The Ottomans, represented by Egypt of Muhammad Ali, conquered Sudan in early 19th century, which marked the era as Turkiyah (Turkish rule). Under the Turkiyah, Sudanese slavery was soon abolished as part of Tanzimat reforms, and economy of Sudan started to improve. Yet, due to the Ottomans' favoritism toward religious orthodoxy, it was met with resistance from the Sudanese.[1]

From 1870s onward, weakening Ottoman Empire paved way for the rebellion led by Muhammad Ahmad against the Turks.[2] It was met with angers from both Egyptians/Ottomans alike, after Muhammad Ahmad proclaimed himself as mahdi, ignited the Mahdist War resulting with heavy military defeat of the Ottomans under British commands to the hand of the Sudanese Mahdists.[3] It wasn't until 1890s that saw the Ottomans, reorganized by Herbert Kitchener, re-conquered Sudan in a costly and bloody war under the banner of the Ottoman Turks/Egyptians.[4]

With the outbreak of World War I, Britain separated Egypt and Sudan together from the Ottomans, and the two countries would have no official relations until mid-20th century. Nonetheless, the Sultanate of Darfur at 1916 proclaimed support to the Ottomans, which was marked by British annexation of Darfur to Sudan.[5]

Modern relations[edit]

With the independence of Sudan from Egypt at 1956, Sudan established relations with Turkey, with Turkey among the earliest nations to open embassy in Sudan. However, for most of late 20th century, Sudan–Turkey tie was characterized with remoteness and lack of interests, as Turkey has more interests in the Middle East and Balkans, while Sudan went into political turmoils. Despite this, relations were cordial under Gaafar Nimeiry, but had become cold under Omar al-Bashir from 1990s to 2010s.[6]

From 2010s, after years of neglecting relationship, Turkey, headed by the Islamist Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, started to diverting its attention to Africa, including Sudan, which has boosted the relations. Turkey has increased their presence in Sudan.[7] One of the most notable is the lease of Sudanese island Suakin to Turkey in a 99-year contract, in which regional rivals like Egypt and Saudi Arabia have reacted with skepticism and suspicions. Turkey has denied attempt to build a military base in Suakin.[8]

Sudanese protests[edit]

Turkey has voiced support to Omar al-Bashir's Government in Sudan during the wave of growing anti-Bashir protest, and has pledged to send aids, ammunitions and supports to Sudan battling against protesters.[9]

Diplomatic mission[edit]


  1. ^ "Sudan - THE TURKIYAH, 1821-85". Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  2. ^ Kocyigit, Omer. ""The Ottoman State's Perception about the Sudanese Mahdi Uprising", International Journal of Turcologia, 9/18, Paris 2014". Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  3. ^ Masters, Bruce (29 April 2013). "The Arabs of the Ottoman Empire, 1516-1918: A Social and Cultural History". Cambridge University Press. p. 208. Retrieved 31 March 2019 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Rogan, Eugene (10 March 2015). "The Fall of the Ottomans: The Great War in the Middle East". Basic Books. Retrieved 31 March 2019 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ "Darfur: The history behind the bloodshed". History Extra. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  6. ^ TERZI, TURKMEN. ""Political Islam Divides Both Sudan and Turkey"". Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ "Suakin: 'Forgotten' Sudanese island becomes focus for Red Sea rivalries". Middle East Eye. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Sudan accepted economic assistance from UAE, Russia, Turkey: oil..." 23 January 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  10. ^ "T.C. Dışişleri Bakanlığı السفارة التركية بالخرطوم". Retrieved 31 March 2019.