Türkİye, Africa

Relations with Turkiye to thrive under new Somali president, say experts

Experts hope new President Mohamud to pursue stable, friendly relations with other countries rather combatant policy of his predecessor

Mohammed Dhaysane   | 19.05.2022
Relations with Turkiye to thrive under new Somali president, say experts

MOGADISHU, Somalia

As Somalia's longstanding political standoff ended with members of both houses of parliament that elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud the country’s president for the next four years, analysts are debating the direction of his foreign policy.

Somalia’s foreign policy had changed under outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known as Farmajo, as his tenure witnessed disputes between Somalia and Kenya due to Nairobi’s alleged involvement in Somalia's internal affairs. There were also accusations against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for allegedly instigating political chaos in the country.

Many experts believe Mohamud's win will change the power and political dynamics of the country.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Abdi Wali Garad, a teaching associate at Birmingham University, however, expects the continuation of a good relationship with Turkiye.

"I'm saying this because of historical references; both in the past and present histories,” he said.

Garad said Turkiye is the only country that has always been willing to help Somalia in the wake of civil wars and instability since the 1990s.

Somalia is the gateway to Africa. It has substantial resources and occupies a strategic location.

"Turkiye is pursuing its interests in Somalia. Yet Turkiye’s interests are the only ones that do not contradict Somalia’s hope of returning to the world stage" he told Anadolu Agency.

Abdirisak Aden, executive director of Farsight Africa Research and Policy Studies, who served as senior adviser to former Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, told Anadolu Agency that the country is finally feeling relieved after the successful conclusion of elections.

"Relieved that finally, the elections took place and were completed peacefully and Farmajo accepted the results. It's a great win for Somalia,” he said.

Unifying president

Aden hoped that President Mohamud will be a unifying president who will focus on the dire needs of the people of the country and will fight poverty, create jobs, and increase security.

"Turkiye's support for Somalia since President Erdogan's visit to the country, including infrastructure projects and humanitarian projects, is viewed as support from an honest, brotherly nation in times of need for the Somali people,” he said.

Somalia and Turkiye, he said, will probably deepen their economic and security relationship during this upcoming administration.

"Turkiye's supporting approach towards Somalia could be an example for other countries willing to support Somalia," he added.

President Mohamud is in many ways a very pragmatic leader, said Mukhtar Ainashe, a political analyst and former national security adviser.

Ainashe believes that the new president is also a "very thoughtful and shrewd politician."

He said the enormous political, security and economic challenges cannot be resolved by Somalia alone.

"The new president appreciates the substantial economic, political, security, and diplomatic support the Turkish government and Turkish people have given to Somalia over the past decade or so,” he told Anadolu Agency.

Somalis consider Turkish involvement in Somalia as something extremely important for their country.

"All indications are that Turkish-Somali relations will thrive under Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s presidency,” he said.

Relations with Turkiye beneficial

Avinashe believes that keeping Somali-Turkish relations intact is not only beneficial for Somalia’s state-building but is also critical.

Turkiye is also helping Somalia rebuild a professional military by training its officers and soldiers, besides supplying substantial amounts of military equipment.

"It’s important to remember that Somalia is still under a UN arms embargo. So, one could argue that Turkiye is willing to do more for Somalia in the defense sector, but the arms embargo is preventing that from happening," said Ainashe.

He said that for the first time, heart bypass operations are being conducted in Mogadishu thanks to Turkish doctors in Turkish-built hospitals and the medical equipment and medicine supplied by the Turkish government.

"Somalis now have access to a health care system that they never had before," he said.

Positive impact

He said Turkish development assistance will have an enormously positive impact for generations, especially in the education sector.

There are thousands of Somali students pursuing all sorts of undergraduate and graduate-level degrees at Turkish universities.

"These educated young people will return to Somalia armed with knowledge and technical expertise,” he said.

Turkiye and Somalia reestablished diplomatic relations in 2011. Since then, Turkish voluntary groups have set up schools, medical centers, orphanage centers, and other institutions.

He hoped that President Mohamud will pursue a stable foreign policy unlike the combatant and erratic policy of outgoing President Farmajo.

Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.
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