Turkey is an important partner for Somalia (By: Dahir Salad Hassan)

Thirty years of conflict and insecurity have persistently destabilized Somalia. Continued and prolonged famines, internal displacement, global terrorist infestation crippled the Federal Government of Somalia on any progress.


Turkey’s re- approachment into Somalia may have been a surprise to many in the world but for the Somali people it meant more than that. It’s a true indication of historic ties as well as partnership that began hundreds of years ago. “ a friend in times of need is indeed a true friend”. Turkey exemplified the dynamic of its nature of the historical ties with Somalia and emphasized within its foreign policy. Turkey’s intervention in Somalia was based on a strong moral obligation and the immediate need to end the effects of the crises, disaster and the cycles of conflict and famine that were perpetuating the Somali people’s suffering. Turkey’s move at the time challenged the International Community, the UN and all international aid organizations who avoided returning to assist the Somali people.

Today Somalia is at a crossroads an important aspect of the current government led by Dr. Hassan Sheikh Mahamud is to prove to the international community Somalia’s ability to construct national priority and plan of action, including the fight of the global terrorist Al-Shabaab, rebuild economy, education, infrastructure, political inclusivity.

The Somali Government would be wisely advised to immediately enter into talks to all countries, that have so far operated outside the existing government structures, to change course and start working with the government on humanitarian and development operations in Somalia. It is understood that many donor countries that are at the forefront of the Humanitarian Aid have from their own words spent huge amounts of their

taxpayers money into Somalia but at the same time have never been transparent and accountable to. These countries avoid consultations and often sideline institutions and entities by ignoring government plans and thus choosing areas of operations and timelines of their project activities.

On a positive note, the political and security in the country has improved. In this regard, it is time that any country or institution that wants to support the Somali people work closely and in partnership with the Somali Government.

Therefore, it is time that the Somali Government takes the lead to coordinate the activities and development projects funded by donor countries and multinational institutions. Both the Somali people and donors would benefit from well-coordinated and centrally planned activities that are transparent and effectively managed.

As an emerging donor in the global arena, Turkey’s development vision found full expression in Somalia. Its efforts mirror its activities and engagement in the variety of commitments; such as providing key technical assistance programs in infrastructure such as building roads, schools, health clinics and enhancing capacity building measures through training of municipality staff, training of the Somali Military and other security organs.

Equal footing Cooperation Modality

In the beginning phase of Turkey’s arrival to Somalia, priority was given to rebuild and rehabilitate the urgent infrastructure as well as implementing quick impact projects that were fundamental and necessary for the affected communities.

The aid modality currently used by Turkey has a clear protocol to utilize a wide variety of modalities that is based on the Somali’s Federal Government’s priorities which utilize local resources and partners for the implementations. Therefore, Turkey utilizes differing contracting mechanisms. It’s worth noting that in contrast to many traditional International donors, Turkey does not attach conditionality to its
assistance and is based on the following important Strategic Partnership Principles.
a) A partnership between equals
b) Somali solutions to Somali problems
c) Cooperation engagement focused on priorities
d) Win-win cooperation partnership

While the overall success of Turkey’s economic, business, trade and political strategic setting in Somalia and Africa have gained momentum and are based on the comparative advantage for the development of the two nations to enhance Peace, Security, and Development. The “Turkish model” of providing positive impact and direct cooperation partnership to people on the ground and its extensive infrastructure projects has been welcomed by both the Federal Government of Somalia and its people for providing visible and tangible projects to both the county and the people.

Nevertheless, for the long term success of these Cooperation transparency, clear selection criteria, and monitoring and evaluation mechanism that should provide clarity on the Cooperation partnership and
the overall success of Turkish- Somali Cooperation will become a model by which the rest of African Countries could aspire to.

This became clear during the African Turkey Cooperation Conference on 11-12 February, 2018 in Istanbul, where I had the opportunity to be part of the Somali delegation. All African Countries have welcomed the equal footing and equal partnership based cooperation and Development between Turkey and Africa.

 

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