Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Somalia on Friday on the third and last leg of his East Africa tour during which he is expected to open Turkey’s embassy in the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
Erdogan and his delegation were given a warm welcomed by Somali government officials at the Mogadishu International Airport, according to the Somali National News Agency, SONNA.
The Turkish president’s visit comes after his tour to Uganda and Kenya where he vowed to boost security and economic ties between East Africa and Turkey, and help bring peace in the region.
Turkey’s First Lady Emine Erdogan, Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci are also part of the Turkish delegation.
Erdogan previously visited Somalia in 2011 when he was then the Turkish prime minister. The same year Turkey started providing humanitarian assistance to the east African state.
Since 2011, Turkey has made a concentrated effort to provide the Somali people basic needs, including security, education, health, institutional capacity building, the building of state institutions, roads, ports, airports, fisheries and energy.
In February, a Turkey-Somalia Business Forum was held in Istanbul aimed at establishing new and strong ties among the peoples of Turkey, Somalia and Africa.
Turkey has provided $500 million worth of aid to Somalia, which is becoming more stable but is still largely underdeveloped and faces ongoing violence from Al-Shabaab militant group.
Over 40 percent of Somalia’s population remains in need of humanitarian aid, according to a Turkish presidential statement.
An estimated 857,000 people inside Somalia are currently “in crisis and emergency conditions”, while almost two million Somalis suffer from food insecurity. Another one million are refugees in neighboring countries, according to the UN.
By Felix Nkambeh Tih