East Africa: Horn of Africa - Turkey's Cosy Relationship With Somalia May Have an Underbelly


Turkey sees Somalia as a strategic bridgehead to the Horn of Africa and beyond, but for this to become a reality, political stability in the country has to be restored. Turkey's attempts to rebuild the Somali Defence Force without a guiding national political framework is tantamount to taking a journey without a roadmap.

The West arrogantly claimed that al-Shabaab precipitated the 2011 Somali famine when in fact the culprit was American policy under the Obama Administration, which banned food deliveries to indigent people in order to punish al-Shabaab. Meanwhile, the so-called Muslim and Arab world was indifferent to the consequences, despite having the resources to prevent the death of nearly 250,000 people - mostly women, children and the aged. Only Turkey responded in an exemplary manner when President Recep Erdoğan stepped up to the challenge.

Erdoğan, his wife and a team of Turkish humanitarian NGOs flew to Mogadishu and visited camps for destitute people who had journeyed far in search of food, and they saw the devastation up close. They were visibly shaken by what they encountered, and Turkey offered generous humanitarian help. But a decade after this show of humanity, Turkey's involvement in the country appears exploitative and self-serving....

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