Dr. Said IssaMohamud
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
In the beginning of 14th through to the 19th Century, the Sultans of the Ottoman Dynasty ruled large parts of Somalia stretching from Harar, Berbera, Zeyla, Borama, to Southern coastal areas like RasAsair to RasGamboni including Mogadishu, Brave, Merka, and Kismayo. The Ottoman Sultanate did not establish any self-governance for the Somali people. Their only goal was to rule and collect taxes. Somalis were to merely support the Ottoman Empire.
Somali clerks were not allowed to work in the Sultanate's offices. Rebellions and revolts resulted from Somalis resentment of taxation. Sadly the resistance failed due to Turkish leaders who manipulated a few Somali religious-elders, convincing them that Turkish efforts were defending Islam in the Horn of Africa against invasions of Christian Ethiopians. This, of course, was not true and history has proved it. On the contrary, when Ethiopians invaded the western territories of Somalia, then under the rule of Turkish Sultanate, the Sultanate did nothing. Ethiopians killed thousands of defenseless Somalis and displaced thousands more, pushing them eastwards.
Today, after twenty one years of Somalia being a stateless country and having been badly affected by wars and droughts, the non-secular Turkish government hands out food aid and medicine to needy, displaced Somalis. Ironically, Turkey has not heard the loud cry of Somali civil strife during the years of anarchy from 1990 up to 2011. Turkish motivations today are questionable. We see a repeat of their earlier tactics of extending their sympathetic invitations to Somali traditional elders as well as the Somali Transitional Government in Mogadishu.
The conference that took place from May 26 to June 2 in Istanbul was held to discuss political, security and economic development in Somalia. No doubt that Turkey is a key player among donor countries. Somalis know from experience that Turkish humanitarian assistance has a better track record of reaching the needy than that of the UN. In this respect, Turkey won the hearts and minds of Somalis and gained undeniable access to advocate on their behalf before international community. But I fear that Turkey’s ultimate strategy is to treat Somalis only to trick them later.
Somalis must remember the history between our two countries and have enough awareness to be skeptical of the current Turkish government. It is not in our best interests that Turkey lead Somalia's political restructuring as our sole savior. No country has a legitimate right to guide another sovereign state. That is why the United Nations, African Union, and other international organizations must assist in establishing a permanent government for Somalia.
We should be wary when Turkey unilaterally offers to assume a political leadership role in our country. I am certain that Turkey does not have the financial resources or desire to rebuild Somalia, but they hope to play the role of pseudo-Islamic mediator and then funnel the donated money to Turkish corporations. In 2011, the money Turkey donated was paid out to Turkish firms and businesses. Once people become aware of this, they are not surprised to learn that no money was used to create Somali institutions or local businesses that could sustain themselves long-term. All the workers came from Turkey and all the companies were owned by Turkish interests. In addition, Turkish firms are building schools in Mogadishu and teaching Turkish instead of the Somali language. To the People Party of Somalia, this is cultural domination.
While Turkey has implemented distribution of humanitarian aid better than the UN, it is taking advantage of the good will this generated and its true political intentions are beginning to surface. Turkey's ruler is a religious man and its government is inclined towards non-secular governance. It is becoming obvious that Turkey is making efforts to unite religious factions around the current Somali president in order to establish one big religious movement. Couple this with the fact that if the Islamic Brotherhood wins the election in Egypt, together Turkey and Egypt can influence Somalia to create an Islamic state. We must avoid this at all costs. It is critical to establish a non-secular government in Somalia.
We do not want the religious conflicts of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, and Turkey to spread to Somalia. The Arab and Islamic countries did not give Somalia support when we needed it most. Their enthusiastic involvement today is only to promote Arabism and the radicalization of Somalia. For this reason we hope and ask the African Union to actively participate in rebuilding Somalia’s institutions.
The People Party of Somalia is against the renewed involvement of Arab and Islamic countries in the process of establishing a permanent government in Somalia. We are supportive of the efforts of the UN, AU, and AMISOM, led by Ugandan peacekeepers. Otherwise Somalia will slide further into a situation from which it will be even more difficult to recover.
With Best Regards,
Dr. Said IssaMohamud
Chair of the People Party of Somalia
Candidate for President of Somalia