News

Turkish Airlines Opens Route to Somalia

Employees work on a Turkish Airlines plane after its arrival at Aden Abdulle International Airport in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, March 6, 2012
Employees work on a Turkish Airlines plane after its arrival at Aden Abdulle International Airport in Somalia's capital Mogadishu, March 6, 2012

This month, Turkish Airlines became the first major commercial carrier to fly directly to Somalia in more than 20 years. The move is the latest high profile step Turkey has taken to extend its economic and political influence on the African continent.

Turkish Airlines inaugural flight to the Somali capital, Mogadishu, is the latest high profile move in Turkey's commitment to the war-torn country.  

Last year, Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the first Western leader in decades to visit Somalia. Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag, speaking to journalists on the flight to Mogadishu, stressed that his country is committed to supporting efforts to bring peace to Somalia.

Bozdag said there are serious security problems, which he says will not to be solved in the short term. But he saidTurkish leaders have expressed their opinions on what needs to be done to bring about peace and that Turkey welcomes positive developments toward that end.

According to Turkish media reports, Ankara is working to end fighting between Islamist al Shabaab militants and the Somali government and African Union forces. Turkish aid agencies are operating in both Somali government and al Shabaab controlled regions. Ankara has also indicated it is prepared to offer training and support to the Somali government.

Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa

Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Selcuk Unal said Turkey's efforts are part of a growing commitment to sub-Saharan Africa.

"There are so many frozen conflicts in Africa and we, as a country which has always conducted steady relationships with the north part of it, [and] we are trying establish concrete relations with the sub-Saharan countries in the last decade," Unal  said. "I think there is sincere interest on our side to extend aid to those regions as well."

Elsewhere Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has defended the Sudan's government against accusations of genocide in Darfur, but Ankara has also worked to defuse tensions between Sudan and newly independent South Sudan.

The Islamist roots of Turkey's ruling AK party give it an advantage with the emergence of new governments in the Arab spring countries, according to SInan Ulgen, a former senior Turkish diplomat who now heads the Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies, an independent think tank in Istanbul. He saidTurkey's diplomatic efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa are a logical extension of its deepening ties with Arab neighbors.

"Given that most of these new actors will have an association with political Islam, these are going to be the new rulers of these countries and Turkey is in a very favorable position to establish links with the new leadership of these countries," Ulgen said. "In an as far [as] sub-Saharan Africa is concerned that is a new geography for Turkey and the dynamic there is Turkey will increase its economic opportunities. So Turkey is now opening up a host of new embassies across Africa."

The expansion of embassies across the continent coincides with a similar growth in work by TIKA, the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency. There has also been a major expansion in flights by Turkish Airlines to Africa. These initiatives have led to a threefold growth in exports to Africa since 2010.

Mehmet Ardar, a Professor of International relations and an expert on development in Africa, at Galatasaray University, said Ankara is following a carefully balanced strategy toward the continent.

"Turkish airlines and then the diplomatic services as well have opened [a] large number of new embassies and each new embassy comes with a facilitation of business by the Turkish investors and Turkish businessmen," said Ardar. "The government actions, aid, diplomacy and business has gone together. It is part of globalization and Turkey becoming a global actor."

Ardar and other analysts saidTurkey's diplomatic and commercial push into sub-Sharan Africa has made it a competitive player in Africa - especially against other rising powers like China and India.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs