Friday May 12, 2023
Türkiye, which has a deep-rooted historical connection with Somalia, has gained an indispensable place in the hearts of Somalis through bilateral relations built on mutual trust, friendship, and a win-win understanding. Millions of Somalis around the world express their unwavering gratitude for the unconditional support provided by Türkiye, under the leadership of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As a reflection of their gratitude, Somalis closely follow all kinds of political, economic, and social developments in Türkiye. For this reason, the people of Somalia, who have intertwined their own destiny with that of Türkiye’s destiny, are eagerly awaiting the results of the upcoming election in Türkiye.
Before Erdogan’s visit, Somalia was a desolate land
Somalia, which declared its independence in 1960, shone as a symbol of democracy, stability, and development in Africa until the coupe in 1969, that took away the democratic rights of the Somalis. With the civil war that began in the 1990s, the era that was defined by Thomas Hobbes as “The war where everyone is against everyone.” began. Due to a combination of civil war and foreign intervention in Somalia, the state collapsed, preventing it from providing basic services to its people. During this time, with the support of foreign powers, the warlords went into a rage to divide the country and its resources. As if the devastating civil war, which has been ongoing for over twenty years, was not enough, Somalia in the progressing years has had to endure the terror of al-Shabaab. The aftermath of these events pushed the Western states, who viewed Somalia as a “swamp”, to abandon them to deal with their own fate. Once the shining star of Eastern Africa, Somalia had become an outlying state and a symbol of despair.
Türkiye is a symbol of revival and construction in Somalia
Although Türkiye is a non-regional actor, it has presented itself as holding a constructive role in Africa in general and particularly in East Africa. Since 2011, Türkiye has become an “irreplaceable partner” for Somalia. This has been evident over the past 12 years with Erdogan’s actions and having stayed steadfast behind all his promises. All of Türkiye’s institutions are involved in ending the destruction in Somalia and contributing to the rebuilding of the state.
Türkiye began humanitarian aid processes in the region with various institutions, mainly with TIKA and the Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay). Building its largest embassy in Mogadishu during a time when other states stayed afar, using security concerns as an excuse, and providing embassy services through an intermediary. The Turkish state has opened its doors and invited thousands of Somali students to study and become the guarantors for the future of the Somali state. Furthermore, Türkiye trained thousands of Somali civil servants in various fields to initiate and proceed with state building. The health system has been restored in Somalia with the development of numerous hospitals in the region, the first being the Recep Tayyip Erdogan Training and Research Hospital. To utilize the agriculturally rich environment, modern agricultural schools were developed with the desire to establish a self-sufficient Somalia. Something that may seem simple to the Turkish population, since they have the privilege of using the hundreds of thousands of kilometers of roads, tunnels, bridges, railways, and huge airports, Türkiye has created roads in Somalia that connect families. The construction of the Mogadishu airport and steady Turkish Airlines flights has connected Somalia to the world.
Somali soldiers attend a training session during the opening ceremony of a Turkish military base in Mogadishu, Somalia, September 30, 2017. REUTERS
The Somali senate and parliament were built so that the Somalis could discuss their problems and find solutions in a safer and more democratic environment. There have been many organizations and forums where Somalis from across the world were invited to develop solutions to Somalia's problems. Mediations were organized to prevent the infestation of brotherly conflict. Above all, there was the establishment of the TURKSOM Military Training Base, where Somali soldiers are trained. The military school commanded under the Somali Turkish Task Force played an important role in meeting the need for officers in Somalia. The Turkish Armed Forces trained and equipped thousands of Somali commanders, who are called “Eagle” (Gorgor), and instilled within them a spirit woven with patriotism.
Today, under the leadership of the President of Somalia Hasan Sheikh Mahmud, Gorgor constitutes the backbone of the determined and relentless struggle against terrorism. Thanks to these soldiers, who hold the forefront of Somalia's efforts against al-Shabaab, Somalia is getting safer with each passing day. Gorgor is holding a relentless effort against those who seek a piece of Somalia. In the last 8 months, every jolt and victory Somalia has earned is due to the efforts and determination of these soldiers who have been trained by Türkiye.
Türkiye’s efforts have contributed to world peace
With these efforts, Türkiye went beyond contributing to the peace in Somalia and East Africa. It has contributed to world peace through its versatile, entrepreneurial, humanitarian diplomacy, deterrent military power, and military assistance to friendly and allied countries. Türkiye, under the umbrella of the United Nations (UN), has exhausted efforts through dialogue between parties to find a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable solution to many African problems. Lastly, Erdogan has made an important contribution to the Grain Corridor Agreement (Black Sea Grain Initiative) by showing vision, courage, and will. The highest praise is deserved for this contribution, it plays a vital role in ensuring world food security.
On the other hand, Türkiye is one of the largest and most important democratic powers in the world. With great participation, Turkish democracy is the shining north star for all Muslim countries. The exemplary leadership Erdogan presents is a guiding example amongst Muslim countries and is closely followed in Somalia. For this reason, the people of Somalia do not sever their destiny from the Turkish people, they meticulously monitor all political, economic, and social processes in Türkiye. A powerful Türkiye, which stood in solidarity with the Somali people during its weakest times and continues its vital role in the revival of institutions, will continue to play an active role, in the upcoming period, in its own region and world politics.
As before, Somalia wishes to continue its relationship and expects support from its friendly and brotherly counterpart; Türkiye, on many issues, especially in the fight against terrorism. It is not only for Somalia, the continued support of Türkiye is required for all oppressed geographies in the world.
By Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur- The author is the Minister of Defense of Somalia.