Turkey mediating talks with Al-Shabaab to bring peaceAqrisatay:6857
“Through the years,Turkey, the only Muslim member in NATO, andSomaliahave maintained a pleasant relationship,” Abdihakim Aynte, an independent Somali researcher, said.
He saidAnkarahas notable advantages in mediating between the Somali rivals to end the bloody conflict.
Turkeyhas spearheaded efforts to provide aid to millions of Somalis ravaged by the years-long conflict in their country.
Last year,Ankaracontributed $201 million to the humanitarian relief efforts to help Somalis affected by a severe drought in the Horn of Africa.
Many Somalis considerTurkeyas their only “true Muslim friend”, citing a visit by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan during last year’s drought and the resulting famine.
Besides sharing the same Islamic values,Turkeyis also viewed as a country that lacks local proxies or other incentives to meddle in the internal politics ofSomalia.
Aynte opines thatTurkeycould succeed in mediating between the government and Al-Shabaab militants to help resolve the conflict.
Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davtutoglu has recently outlinedTurkey’s interest in meditating between conflicting factions inSomalia.
“Despite our advantage and special relation with Somalis of all stripes,Turkeywould play a role in mediating conflicting parties inSomalia.”
Somaliahas sunk into abyss over the deadly fighting between government troops and militants of Al-Qaeda-inspired Al-Shabaab militants.
The conflict has escalated after neighboringKenyaandEthiopiasent troops intoSomaliato help hunt Al-Shabaab militants.
Analysts opine thatTurkey’s mediation could possibly prove to be a catalyst for the rebuilding ofSomalia, a country divided along clan lines.
Aynte saidTurkeyis rebuilding the social fabrics inSomaliaby reconstructing roads, airports, hospitals for the people’s wellbeing and paving the way for political resettlement.
The analyst listed a number of projects championed byTurkeyin the war-torn country.
Up to 1,000 students have been granted full scholarships in different fields inTurkey, he said.
Schools that teach the Turkish language have also opened up inSomaliain addition to providing aid to nearly 15,000 displaced Somalis by theTurkish Red Crescent.
Turkeyhas also reconstructed a major hospital and outpatient clinic which are serving nearly three million Somalis fromMogadishuand other remote areas.
Aynte said the net effect ofTurkey’s contribution to the impoverished country ofSomaliais mind-boggling.
Somaliahas lacked an effective government since the ouster of former president Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991.
More than 14 attempts to restore a functional government have since failed.