News / Europe

Turkey Takes On Redevelopment Efforts in Somalia

Somalia's PM Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, left, shakes hands with Turkish counterpart before he addresses a conference that aims to support Somalia in a transition process, Istanbul, Turkey, June 1, 2012.
Somalia's PM Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, left, shakes hands with Turkish counterpart before he addresses a conference that aims to support Somalia in a transition process, Istanbul, Turkey, June 1, 2012.
Mike Richman
Turkey is reaching out to war-torn Somalia with a huge redevelopment effort - in Ankara's latest effort to expand its economic and political influence in Africa and play a greater role in the international arena.

Rebuilding Somalia, bringing peace and security, and helping establish a stable government top Turkey's list of goals in the East African nation.  With its thriving economy, Ankara is also looking at future trade possibilities in the energy, construction and agricultural sectors.

Challenges

For now, Turkey is faced with a major challenge.

Somalia has not had a stable central government for two decades. The country's United Nations-backed transitional government is fighting the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab, though pro-government forces have gained the upper hand in recent months. Also, Somalia is emerging from a major drought last year.

Turkish media have reported that Turkey is working to end the fighting. Turkish aid agencies are operating in regions controlled by the Somali government and al-Shabab. And Turkey has said it is prepared to offer training and support to Somalia's government.

Also, Turkish engineering contractors have been in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, working to reconstruct a city left in ruins by years of fighting.

Must act now

According to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, now is the time to act.

"Somalian mothers and fathers are hurting, and it is possible to stop this, and Turkey is not waiting to act to help the Somalians wondering what others may think,”  he said.

Turkey has made several high-profile moves as part of its commitment to Somalia.

Last year, Prime Minister Erdogan was the first Western leader in decades to visit Somalia. In March, Turkish Airlines became the first major commercial carrier to fly directly to Somalia in more than 20 years. Last week, Turkey hosted an international conference that focused on helping Somalia establish a stable government and elect a new president by August 20.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal said Turkey has sent more than $50 million in humanitarian aid for the Somali people since Erdogan's visit to Mogadishu.

"From Turkey’s point of view, since the visit of Prime Minister Erdogan to Somalia, we have collected from Turkish government funds, from the Turkish people, or from Turkish society $350 million, of which $51 million has been extended to the people of Somalia via air or by ships, humanitarian assistance material," Unal said.  "In addition, we will be continuing our reconstruction efforts on all of these issues, energy, reconstruction, transportation, those sorts of issues.”

Broader stability

To Veysel Ayhan of the Center for Middle East Peace and North Africa Studies, Turkish interest in Somalia stems mainly from the historical ties between the two nations. Turkish officials think bringing stability to Somalia will lead to stability in the broader region, Ayhan said, noting that Turkey's efforts are part of its "soft power" politics and desire to play a huge role in the international community.

"Turkey is trying to get the attention of the international community in Somalia so that Somalia's development would be supported by more international actors," Ayhan said.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Unal said Turkey's efforts are part of its growing commitment to sub-Saharan Africa.

You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid