Turkish PM’s Visit to Boost Morale in Somalia.
Posted by Ogadentoday-Chief Editor on August 20 2011 08:10:36
As someone who has interest in global issues, it became a habit for me to watch TV news on daily basis just to keep myself up-to-date on stories from around the world. It is rare I don’t catch world reports, especially bedtime news bulletin. For the past few weeks or longer, I stop watching the news. I “gave up” is the right word I think. I couldn’t bear to watch the unbearable images of thousands of Somali people, mostly children dying of starvation and acute malnutrition in every passing hour. May Allah bless their souls.
As someone who has interest in global issues, it became a habit for me to watch TV news on daily basis just to keep myself up-to-date on stories from around the world. It is rare I don’t catch world reports, especially bedtime news bulletin.
For the past few weeks or longer, I stop watching the news. I “gave up” is the right word I think. I couldn’t bear to watch the unbearable images of thousands of Somali people, mostly children dying of starvation and acute malnutrition in every passing hour. May Allah bless their souls.
Nobody can deny that the Somali government and Alshabab have done things of which they are bound to be ashamed and blamed. But Somalia being a member of the UN, OIC, NAM, AU and the Arab League, this could be interpreted that the country has enough number of “close friends” among the community of nations. But the reality showed otherwise. I am convinced that we are in an epoch in which being a member of the above-said organizations no longer holds any meaning. To paraphrase: the famine in Somalia is something that didn’t come as a surprise especially when you look at how wars are linked to famines. Somalia is at war with itself over 20 years, and these organizations could have stopped it as they did elsewhere if sincere. The country is also going through its worst humanitarian crisis in living memory, and we haven’t seen any practical action from the leaders of those “friendly countries” with the exception of few, and this brings me to the Turkish Prime Minister’s visit to Somalia.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the first high profile leader to visit Somalia in 20 years and risked himself to arrive in Mogadishu, the most volatile and dangerous city in the world. He is the first leader who issued a call on the crisis, held a donor conference in Istanbul and opened an account by himself calling his people to donate. It was said that the donation reached millions of US dollar.
Erdogan’s Visit Reminds Somalis Centuries Old Relationship:
Apart from the humanitarian aspect of his trip, Tayyip Erdogan’s trip to Somalia reminds us centuries old relationship. In 1531 the Ottoman Empire supplied cannons and other military equipments to Somalia’s first national hero Iman Ahmed Bin Ibrahim known as (Imam Ahmed Guray) who was at war with Ethiopia. It was said his military advisors contained some Turkish. Imam Ahmed Guray succeeded in defeating the Ethiopian army and their Portuguese allies and captured two third of Ethiopia. Turkey also supported Somalia’s second national hero Sayyid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan who was at war with the colonial powers from 1899 to 1920. Turkey built Taleh, a historical town that served as a headquarter for Sayyid Mohamed’s Darvish movement. Taleh had the movement’s largest military fort, which had towers 60 feet high and walls 14 feet thick. The British employed an air force unit and bombed the fort in 1920. Margaret Castagno, a historian on Somalia, wrote that in 1917, a man called Sheikh Ahmad Shirwa Bin Muhammad who was Sayyid Mohamed’s envoy to Turkey was arrested by the Italians and found to be carrying letters from the Sayyid the Ottoman Empire in which Sayyid Mohamed asked that he and his followers be placed under Turkish administration and Somalia as part of the Ottoman Empire.
Beside the military and the political support that Turkey had offered to Somalia, Ottoman architectural works can still be seen in Somalia such as the famous mosque “Berbera Mosque” in the city of Berbera. In short, Erdogan’s visit is very meaningful as it reminds Somali people the centuries old relationship between the two countries.
Thank You Prime Minister Erdogan:
Somali people will not forget Erdogan’s words when he said in Istanbul: “There is a fire in Somalia and what is urgent is to extinguish that fire. This is a test not only for Somalia but for humanity. I am convinced that our people are keeping in their minds the suffering. Turkey cannot remain spectators of this spectacle of human misery".
Prosperity is always full of friends, but the true friendship can only be shown in hard times. Tayyip Erdogan’s historic visit to Somalia at this difficult time means a lot to us than words may convey. It boosted the morale of all Somalis in the country and those beyond its shores.
Pic:Dr Mohamed Abbas and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Kuala Lumpur, Nov 20091.
This article was first published in “Today’s Zaman”, a leading Turkish newspaper.