Turkey’s Involvement in Somalia -By Abdifatah Abdi Hared
Since the early in 1990s Somalia has been torn apart by civil war and security issues. Somalia is still considered one of the most dangerous places in the world, not just civil war but also Somalia is suffering ongoing droughts, currently there is a drought throughout the Somalia, the two rivers are finished no water at all. Because of that turkey was one of the most important countries who helped Somalia. In 2010 Recep Teyyip Erdogan together his family and a lot of Humanitarian NGOs visited to Somalia to support drought and famine in Somalia. Erdogan provided food and shelter in the areas affected by drought and signed development project to the government of Somalia for example development Assistance, Emergence humanitarian aid, state building, peace negotiation, building roads, hospitals, schools, building airport and security. Turkey moved to Somali by giving more attention Somalia than any other country in the history.
In June 2, 2016 also president erdogan reached Somalia on the last leg of his Africa tour. President Erdogan opened turkey`s largest embassy in the world in Mogadishu. Erdogan visited Somalia Three times which makes him the only non-African president to visit Somalia in decades.
The Impact of Aid
The last twenty years donors ignored to Somalia meaning there is no direct fund from donor to the government of Somalia and most important donor offices are located in Nairobi due to security concern. The money donated to Somalia I argue 80% is spent on seminar, workshops and planning stage nothing goes to practice and in to real life, if you ask a Somali citizen which donor is making a difference in Somalia. The answer will be Turkish government is the real and most important donor in Somali’s history.
From 1991 when the central government of Somalia collapsed to currently 2016 the United Nations and its affiliated UN institutions based offices in Kenya donated to Somalia an estimated $60bn on behalf of Somalia. Obviously, those funds mostly used in Nairobi and Addis Ababa donor offices for seminars and conferences. The Somalian people have not gained any substantive infrastructure-related projects, development projects, peace projects or any sustainable project since 1991.
Turkey has given Somalia $400 million in humanitarian assistance in the last five years in accordance government figure, a percentage of it donated by Turkish people. June 7, 2016 Turkish government has started to provide 2 million Dollars to Federal Government of Somalia as a contribution to Federal Budget on monthly basis (Ministry of foreign Affairs). This is showing that turkey’s commitment towards peace and progress, development and well-being of Somalia.
Ankara Aid to Somalia has produced tangible projects, sustainable projects, hospitals, and a lot of roads were built and the airport was expended. After Somali government is collapsed in 1991 in Somalia there were no international flights come to Mogadishu. The first regular international flights to the Somali capital Mogadishu in more than 20 years began by Turkish airline. In Mogadishu currently there are Turkish secondary schools, University and a lot of Turkish humanitarian NGOs are operating in Somalia.
The Turkish government is giving scholarship that Somalian never seen before. In every year a lot of students from Somalia come to turkey to study with scholarship programs. The last year 102 students were giving scholarship. The scholarship provides a free university, free dormitory, free Accommodation with $300 monthly stipend students receive every month, the scholarship winners are from any field of study and any level, The president of Turkey Recept Teyip Erododan when he is speaking the high level partnership from focusing on progress in Somalia held 23 Feb 2016 in Istanbul he said “Turkey will continue to support the Somalian people so that they can lead a safe and peaceful life and that is why we are giving a scholarship every year and around 500 students from Somalia are now studying Turkey scholarship program” and November 7, 2016 President Erododan opened a new medical university in Istanbul, the university has a new branch in Somalia also and hope will bring strong educational relationship between the two states. The scholarship graduate students are now working on the relationship between the two countries most of them are working Turkey – Somali NGOS, companies while others joined diplomacy and political life.
Turkey and Somalia have had a very long-term relationship going back centuries. They founded an Islamic organization together; the OIC and both countries share same religion I argue because of that Turkey succeeded to make huge impact in Somalia for just 5 years. This year Turkey has finished its first military base in Somalia this will help train the country’s army to fight the deadly terror group, a senior Turkish source told Turkish local media on Oct. 1. A Turkish military based In Somalia will be operational by the start of 2017.
The writer is a Masters student of Political Science and Public Administration at Ankara, Yildirim Beyazit University (AYBU), Ankara, Turkey.