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The director of the SETA Foundation, Prof. Burhanuddin Duran stated that the Turkish Somali partnership, in diaspora perspective, shows us the necessity to conduct similar conferences in future Turkish-Somali partnership. Under the initiative and direction of Dr. Ali, the results of the conference deserve the ever-shining light from his eyes whenever he talked about the conference.
On the Somali agenda, Turkey was always eager to initiate partnership and collaboration which enriches both nations. The world is going under transformation. More than international organizations, bilateral relations are becoming more important. Also, the world is turning into a situation where states are striving for their own survival under the increasing competition between states. This is the crisis in the so-called ‘liberal success’ that was coined after the Cold War.
From this perspective, as Turkey as Somalia, we need to establish a stronger partnership and develop our current cooperation. Turkey was focused on developing new partnership models based on win-win principles.
Turkish-Somali relations started in 2011 on the basis of humanitarian support and then transformed into a development partnership. This partnership was far more important than a simple interest-based relationship. This was a strategic step that will renew the Turkish opening in Africa. If this effort continues, it will produce strategic results that will help communities move towards prosperity and will become a global example of effective partnership and fraternal relations. This forum and its sessions range from education partnership to development partnership.
As a final note, if our relations are not based on brotherhood, love and solidarity, it means that we are short of accomplishing our responsibilities. I hope these notes will be an opening speech for our future conferences.
Mr. Abdullahi Hamud Mohamed, Somali State Minister of the Office of the Prime Minister indicated that the bond between Somalia and Turkey had NOT started from that historic visit in 2011 by the Turkish President H.E. Erdogan, with that enduring image of the President holding a small child – But the love affair between Somalia and Turkey dates way back in history to the middle ages.
It was Dr. Badiyow that touched the historical trade and military alliances that existed between the Ottoman Empire and the various Somali Sultans, like the Ajuran and Adale Sultans.
The unprecedented engagement with Somalia since 2011 has been praised locally, regionally and has caught the attention of major global powers. In a short time, Turkey became one of the closest allies that Somalia has in the international political arena. The unparalleled success of Turkish assistance and aid projects in Somalia has yielded many responses and has produced many tangible results. The most significant has been a direct review and renewed approach by other international donors that have been present in Somalia far longer than Turkey.
The curiosity and inquisitiveness about the Turkish assistance model in Somalia have become a global subject, not only for Western donors but even the Muslim ones. There are two questions every global donor has asked themselves (1) how Turkey’s assistance model has become more effective and valuable, and (2) what factors are helping Turkey to accomplish all these projects to accelerate Somalia`s state of recovery? These questions and more had been discussed in the international political arena, which led to discussions and research directives at global research centers and entered multi-national political discourse.
History is more than a path left by the past – it influences the present and can shape the future. Perhaps, what is undeniable is that history vitally influences any relationship, and nations structure their relationship with the historical connections alongside their mutual interests.
Moreover, for the past two decades, the world has seen a global socio-political shift in which emerging powers entering into the international political arena with a unique foreign policy as compared to the elite powers. Turkey encompasses this shift, and the Ottoman Empire`s immaculate history has become a significant tool for Turkey`s foreign policy.
This has assisted Turkey in engaging and establishing more responsible and realistic relationships with global partners and allies. Somalia remains a good example of this.
Despite historic connections, the assistance model that Turkey deployed in Somalia and doing so at the right time was based on non-interference in internal political matters, a hands-on aid with quick impact projects that will change and support Somalia. This was a Diplomacy Aid with a long-term view.
Turkey was re-writing the norm in which aid was merely political. A smart move of regenerating a relationship and, most importantly, gaining credibility and trust from Somali society. It was an important key to the success of regenerating the Turkish-Somali relationship.
It launched multidimensional projects of assistance inclusive of humanitarian aid and developmental projects to support the rebuilding process with a high-quality implementation strategy, the two assisting projects being implemented together.
This was a totally opposite technique from the traditional donors that only deliver humanitarian aid. Furthermore, with the integration of local communities, delivering assistance to them quickly based on priority and visibility of projects, putting all those pieces into context, we can understand why Turkey has been successful in helping Somalia.
It is clear Turkey’s intention and its relationship with Somalia will go beyond assistance and support. The establishment of both Turkey`s biggest foreign embassy and foreign military base has categorically set a precedence as to how much Turkey is willing to develop its relationship with Somalia.
In the long run, Somalia also has much to offer to Turkey, and our Turkish brothers know this very well. Somalia will always be grateful for what Turkey has done in a time of need. But as I always say, do not judge Somalia from what it has been but think what Somalia of tomorrow could be.