Could Turkey Succeed in Somalia Where the Rest Have Failed?
Turkish Weekly: Monday, 17 October 2011
By Nuradin Dirie
In an article this week in the American Foreign Policy magazine, the Turkish Prime Minister urged the world to follow Turkey’s example in ending the suffering of the Somali people. Indeed, Turkey is putting its money where its mouth is. After a massive suicide bombing in Mogadishu last week killing as many as 70 innocent civilians and seriously wounding more than 100, the Turkish government immediately responded by sending huge medical planes to take the wounded to be cared for in modern hospitals in Turkey. This generous move was the latest in a series of initiatives to provide assistance by the Turkish government that can potentially bring Somalia back from the brink.
In August 19 of this year for example, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had already made history by becoming the only government leader who had visited Somalia with his family since 1991, when the Somali state collapsed. The Prime Minister was joined in the streets of Mogadishu by his wife, his children, and an entourage of cabinet ministers and their families. He ushered in hundreds of millions of dollars of humanitarian assistance from Turkey and the Muslim world in what is now known as a new strategy for Islamic humanitarian diplomacy. He also brought with him Turkish teams of relief and reconstruction experts, the Turkish ambassador to Mogadishu, and serious pledges to help Somalia. Soon, hundreds of university scholarships followed as well as the buildings of schools, hospitals, water systems, roads, and garbage trucks that are clearing the streets of Mogadishu.