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

    US-Russia Tensions Complicate Syria War

    With a shared enemy and opposing allies, Russia and the US are working to avoid confrontation

    Video Re-opening Old Wounds in Beirut's Bullet-riddled Yellow House

    Built in neo-Ottoman style in 1920s, it is set to be re-opened in Sept. as ‘memory museum’ - bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity

    Cambodian-Americans Lobby for Human Rights Resolution

    Resolution condemns all forms of political violence in Cambodia, urges Cambodian government to end human rights violations, calls for respect of press freedom

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora