The President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Somalia in 2011 as part of humanitarian assistance to famine-hit people, along with the First lady Emine Erdogan. The UN estimated that some 12 million people have been affected by starvation. The visit to the war-torn capital city, Mogadishu, was the first by a leader from outside Africa in almost 30 years.
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The visit aimed to support the needy people and to bring the international attention to the Somalia again, which was neglected for decades due to endless civil war which turned the country apart.
Ever since, Turkey has made a concentrated effort to provide the Somali people the basic needs including security, education, health, capacity building of the government, building roads, ports, airports fisheries and energy.
Turkey constructed its biggest embassy in Mogadishu and trained Somalia forces including police and military. Turkey donates millions of dollars to support of Somalia budget. Turkish Airlines, state owned carrier, is flying directly to Mogadishu twice a week despite the massive security concerns.
Turkish technocrats support Somalia in critical sectors including health and education. Turkish professionals are running hospitals and schools across the capital city. The Somalia passport holders can obtain Turkish visa easily. They visit to receive medical attention, business, buy real-estate and some families relocated to Turkey to live.
Somali military receive training in Turkey and return to restore peace. There are thousands of Somali soldiers who speak Turkish fluently today. Similarly, there are numerous training programs for the security forces by the Turkish Army stationed in Mogadishu.
Turkey organized reconciliation sessions between leaders of Somalia and Republic of Somaliland to settle their political difference. Although, such reconciliation failed, but Ankara tried its best to solve the longstanding political dispute.
Somaliland declared its independence from Somalia unilaterally and demanding separate state. Turkey government supports Somalia across the platforms of diplomacy globally.
The Turkish support is continuous and vital even though political leadership in Somalia changed with three presidents since 2011 but Ankara support remains fateful.
In last 30 years, the state institutions of Somalia collapsed due to civil war with no schools, police, hospitals, roads and even it lacks even clean drinking water. The corruption, smuggling of drugs and weapons, illegal & tribe-based killing and piracy is lucrative business in Somalia, however, the arrival of Turkey to some extent corrected the situation.
Today, Somalia is broken country and deeply bleeding due to the injuries caused by the abovementioned violence and chaos. Very little misunderstanding could trigger another uncontrollable new round of violence. It is very important for Somalia government and its partners like Turkey to avoid any political or tribal error. God forbidden, if that happens it will take time to “Restore Hope”.
Somalia is suffering of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that includes distrust between Somalia politicians, which could lead misuse government resources against each other. As signs of PTSD, the Somalians support the government when kinsman on power and vice versa. Everyone who follows Somali politics could realize the abovementioned fact.
As the country lived in lawless situation in more than quarter century, the institutions have become source of income and tribe enclaves. tribes count how many ministers do they have in the cabinet and reject any accountability against their tribesmen in the government as another sign of PTSD of the countries who suffered civil wars.
Unfortunately, the Somalia constitution promotes tribalism as 4.5 system is adopted governing procedure in the country. The MPs are promoted based on 4.5 system and selected by the tribe chiefs. The MP is forced to carry out the tribe demands despite national interest, otherwise he/she will be omitted in the next round of selection. This is very hurting fact, but it is important to face the ugly reality to overcome.
As part of illegal use of army, the current president of Somalia Mohamed Farmajo used Turkish-trained soldiers to crash his opponents in Baidio city that resulted death of civilians. Pres. Farmajo installed a regime (henchmen) that obey his policies and instructions in the region. He overlooked the federal system and constitution of Somalia, which gives regional parliament to freely nominate the president of the region. Farmajo used Turkish donations to promote his henchman.
Another example, late President Abdullahi Yusuf failed to enter Mogadishu city due to tribal disagreements and he used the Ethiopian forces to occupy the city. The residents of the Mogadishu fought the Ethiopian forces and many lives were lost. These conflicts are mainly tribe based.
The elected government of Turkey led by President Recep Erdogan will surely not accept that financial and military aid to Somalia to be used for political gain, because Ankara is not supporting one-man but the Somalia as nation.
SOM-Turkish brotherly relations remain regardless of the changing leaders in Somalia. Ankara must ensure that all forms of aid are used for the intended purpose.
The current government led by President Farmajo is using the Somalia National Army to interfere regional authorities, which is against the federal system of Somalia. He uses aid funds to destabilize the stable regional authorities like Puntland and Baidio City. Today there are fighting in Bosaso City, Puntland due to Farmajo support to former Puntland Speaker who was outvoted by the parliament.
Farmajo used Turkish-trained soldiers to overthrow Ahlu Sunna Wa Jamaca (ASWJ) administration at Dhuusamareeb City and planning to install henchman just like Baidio City.
Farmajo is using international community donations against his countrymen and if he continues such illegal activities then it could lead to another internal rift that could give the terrorist a chance.
Somaliland President Muse Bihi accused Farmajo for sponsoring armed groups in Somaliland during inauguration of Health Development Fair in Hargeisa.
With my humble experience in Somali affairs, it is very important that Turkish government ask Farmajo to focus on fighting terrorism instead of creating chaos in stable regional authorities. Instead of creating unnecessary anarchy, He can use international law and diplomacy to block the regional authorities from contacting the other countries including signing agreements with foreign partners without knowledge of federal government.
Astonishingly, Ankara is supporting Somalia while leaving behind the former member state of Othman Emperor, Somaliland. The Republic of Somaliland was located the south border of the emperor. Both Berbera and Zeila cities carries historical sites of Othman emperor.