Turkey Turns World Eyes on Somalia

Three hundred and ninety thousand… That’s how many children face death in Somalia’s famine-scorched regions, according to United Nations statistics.

It is a human landscape whose dimensions are shocking and outrageous for the 21st century. Tens of thousands of parents in Somalia are waiting for the day when the drama will end for these hundreds of thousands of desperate children. Unable to remain indifferent to the Somali drama playing out before the eyes of the whole world, Turkey has once again demonstrated its resolve to provide all manner of support to Somalia, to which many countries, for security reasons, are reluctant to send aid. Not only official agencies but volunteer organizations and organizations of civil society as well in Turkey did not for an instant hesitate to extend a helping hand to our brothers and sisters in Somalia.

Recently a delegation made up of people from all walks of life - from businessmen to artists, and of which Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was also a part - engaged in contacts in Somalia, demonstrating concrete support for the country’s people and government. Following several aid campaigns mounted all over Turkey, upwards of TL 250 million (at the time our magazine went to press) had been collected in the largest relief effort mounted in the country to date. And Turkish Airlines played a role by transporting a portion of the aid collected by TİKA (The Turkish Agency for Cooperation and Development), the Turkish Red Crescent Society, the Presidency of Religious Affairs and AFAD (the Disaster and Emergency Agency) to Somalia on its cargo planes.

Not limited to aid of this sort, Turkey’s support for Somalia is designed to be long-term and sustainable in structure. What’s more, this aid is going to be coordinated for distribution over the whole country, leaving room for no discrimination whatsoever. In addition to meeting the country’s short-term needs for food and emergency medical services, Turkey is also going to be a driving force for major steps in areas such as infrastructure, education and basic health services. Among the priority projects are construction of a highway from the airport into the city, and construction of a fully equipped hospital in the capital, Mogadishu. In yet another step, Turkey is planning to open an embassy in Somalia to provide coordination for all these activities and carry out long-range projects. The ultimate aim is to turn Somalia into a self-sufficient country that can shape its own future as soon as possible.
Closely monitoring all these efforts, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan summed up their significance as follows: “I believe that the aid we are giving Somalia will not only give the tens of thousands of Somali children and parents there a new lease on life but that, thanks to that aid, humanity will again rise to the occasion, consciences be reawakened and hope spring eternal once more.”

Turkey, as always, is proving that it never hesitates to extend a helping hand to people in distress anywhere in the world. And the reward of all those efforts will be happy smiles on the faces of the mothers and fathers and children of Somalia.

Public Opinion Must Focus on Somalia  >
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Prime Minister of Turkey
“Through this visit we have shown the whole world that Turkey is mobilizing both its government and its aid agencies. We would like world opinion to focus its attention on the human drama playing out in Somalia. This is going to be the entire thrust of my remarks when I address the United Nations General Assembly in September.”