Somalia, a war torn country since 1991, is coming back to its sense now, yes it is true; the country is going to stand again on its own feet. The east African country endured a torrid two decades of inter-clan fighting, inter regional fighting, famine, torrential rains and worse than that was all about the foreign negative invasion in the country.
Since 1991, when the then central strong government of Somalia collapsed, the people of Somalia were in demand of foreign friends who give them great support and contribute to the efforts in restoring their collapsed state.
After 1993 when the UNISOM mission bizarrely ended with failure and all the world countries withdrew their troops from Somalia, the world witnessed that Somalia is a long way to resurrection. Therefore, several foreign countries started invading the country directly or indirectly for different reasons and interests.
USA, Ethiopia, Kenya and some of the Gulf countries were quickly on hand to influence the country’s ongoing dilemma and each of them attracted and contracted a group of warlords, Sheikhs and business men to work for their interests and make sure that they have an upper hand in destabilizing the country.
Most of those countries incredibly pretended to launch a helping hand to the Somali innocent people while they really insisted to keep the country at howl and in deep crises for different reasons.
Ethiopia, for example, saw this as a perfect opportunity to avenge Somalia for their assault towards Ethiopians back in 1977. Therefore, Ethiopia pledged to arm all Somali militias separately and let them fight each other for many years just to make sure that they will not come on peace terms. Nevertheless, it was not strange in 2006 to see Ethiopians directly deploy their military forces in the country and destroy the whole infrastructure in the capital Mogadishu. Everyone remembers the number of schools, hospitals, mosques, roads and universities destroyed by Ethiopians for no clear reasons.
Ethiopian troops are moving in the capital Mogadishu (L) where they are settling in their new base (R)
Likewise, USA used this opportunity to make Somalis pay back for their fighting against the USA rangers in 1993 (UNISOM time), USA supported some key influential warlords in the capital Mogadishu, they also played a huge role to eradicate the Islamic courts in which many Somalis believed that they were saviors for the nation from the turmoil.
The Gulf countries took their chance to support some Sheikhs and form different unions and movements to keep alive their interests in Somalia and have a feasible influence in the county’s long term future.
These countries continued to use Somalia as a scapegoat where there test their political depth and strength to manage all Somali political drivers and ensure that their interests are always on the top of the agenda. They paid huge sum of funds to the different sectors of the Somali politicians, warlords, Sheikhs and faction leaders just to make sure that the state will never come back to its strongest.
Meanwhile, 2011 was the turning point for all Somali people to understand what exactly was going on in their country and who actually was ready to help them sincerely and who had other interests behind their back.
During the year of 2011, a severe drought hit the southern regions of Somalia due to rains failing to fall down for more than two years. Thousands of animals died because of thrust and lack of pasture, hundreds of children and pregnant and lactating mothers died due to hunger and severe acute malnutrition. It was claimed to be the worst famine that hit the country for so long. There was no any strong central government that could tackle the draught and support the victims alone, the security was not in the best shape and the people’s hope was going on into a deep borehole.
However, the UN and international organizations started their normal business in developing and sending emergency proposals to the donors to raise funds for the vulnerable people. It did not take long to collect billions of dollars to support the people, but all of a sudden, things did not turn out like the way we -Somalis-would like. All these agencies were based in Nairobi-Kenya, therefore, 80% of the received budget was spent in Kenya, i.e. Administration costs, Office costs and Logistics cost.
These organizations established hundreds of local NGOs separately in Somalia to send the 20% balance of the budget allocated to support the suffering people. The local NGOs were taken to neighboring cities; Nairobi, Djibouti, Hargeisa and Kampala for fruitless seminars, workshops and meetings. The only plus of those events was they stayed in luxury hotels for weeks whereas the Somali people were starving.
Nevertheless, the local NGOs did not help their bit as they did not spend 90% of that amount to support the people but instead they sent beautiful and well-designed reports to their donors and that was exciting for the donors as well. This is the reason why you can find now in Mogadishu-Somalia, a 30 years old man with $10 million in saving account and an uneducated woman with 3 five star hotels or a former militia member with 5 well-constructed houses worth of $5 million.
Then the unthinkable happened, their came the then Turkish Prime Minister Mr. RacebTayibErdogan to visit Somalia and witness the struggling poor people with his wife and a dozen of doctors with valuable emergency aids and nutrients. During their visit, the security was not good, the country was in a bad shape but our Turkish brothers never thought about all those issues, they only thing they had in mind was to be with their suffering brothers in Somalia to boost their morals and show them solidarity.
MrRecebTayib and his wife with suffering kids in Mogadishu in 2011 (L) while the president is providing nutrients to a malnourished kid and his wife is hugging the kid’s mom to give her sense of support
One of the touching quotes Mr. RacebTayib said is; anyone who is serious about helping these people should be present with them and feel the pain with them but not remain in the foreign countries. That was a clear message to the UN and international organizations that stayed comfortably in peaceful countries.
Following that visit, the Turkish government sent scores of their doctors, agronomists, community service contributors and teachers to help the poor Somali people, their overall target at the time was to provide the emergency support such as; water distribution, distribution of essential drugs, food distribution and income generation activities.
After ensuring that the drought came to an end, the Turkish people did not leave us behind but rather strengthened our brotherhood and friendship by opening up an embassy in Mogadishu and allowing their famous Turkish airlines to start flights of Mogadishu-Istanbul.
All was not smooth for our Turkish brothers in Somalia as their embassy was attacked where they lost very valuable individuals, they faced a lot of criticisms from western backed groups, they were condemned with fake accusations, and thus, they kept on their agenda of helping the Somali people.
Meanwhile, after successfully completing the emergency humanitarian projects, they started development projects in the country e.g. Roads rebuilding in Mogadishu, Offering thousands of scholarships to the Somali people, construction of schools for the orphans, Hospital rebuilding, new terminal construction at the airport and many more others.
Therefore, again in January 2015, there came the now president of TurkeyMr. RacebTayibErdogan with his wife to visit the country he tuned to the eyes of the international community.There was huge difference between the two visits; this time around he came to officially open the new terminal of Adan Ade International airport and the biggest and most equipped hospital in east Africa built by the Turkish people for the Somali people.
The president of Turkey is received magnificently at Aden Ade international airport in Mogadishu-Somalia
However, we will run out of time if we try to count the number of projects and tangible activities that our brothers from Turkey did for the Somalis, but I will summarize it with some major points that we will never forget about the Turkish people.
The Superb SIX reasons to love about our Turkish brothers;
T U R K E Y
T: Terrific Terminal
It is no secret that Adan Ade international airport in Mogadishu was one of the worst equipped airstrips in the world. The airport has passed through different stages since its building more than half a century before. The airport was dysfunctional for about two decades due to domestic conflicts and later reopened by the Islamic courts in 2006. Since then, the airport has been operating with limited facilities and equipment. In 2011 a foreign company called SKY was contracted to handle the operations of the airport and work on its development and progress.
After two years, the company did very little to justify their value to the airport, they gained millions of dollars from the airport but did nothing to its progress. Therefore, in 2013 a Turkish Favori was again contracted to take over the operations of the airport, it took only less than two years for them to construct a well-equipped new terminal for the airport which excited all Somalis. The new terminal is attractive, beautiful and contributing to the improved infrastructure of the country.
U: Unbelievable Hospital
One of the disappointing factors that contributed to the unlimited number of deaths for the last two decades was lack of quality hospitals with modern facilities and well qualified doctors as well. In fact there were some quality doctors available but the demand was much higher than what was available. It was usual to see a savable patient to die from a curable disease or illness. Most of the people who suffered were kids and pregnant women and in fact it was not pleasing to see a woman on a labor in a mid-night in Mogadishu or any other part in Somalia because the situation never helped such patients.
Therefore, EX Digfer hospital was a public hospital when Somalia was stable and strong. It offered all kinds of health services and facilities freely to the people, thus, after the collapse of the central government in 1991, the hospital was taken over by militias who used it as a shield and militia base, the hospital was destroyed to the earth until its smallest doors are also looted.
However, in 2013 The Turkishpeople begun rebuilding the hospital and they made it the biggest hospital in East Africa which has all kinds of modern equipment, laboratories, facilities, clinics, machines and all health necessities. They brought fantastic Turkish doctors to train the young Somali doctors and manage the hospital temporarily. The hospital is now rightly renamed afterRacebTayibErdogan Hospital in credit to the Turkish government.
R: Reliable roads; most of the roads of Mogadishu were not rehabilitated more than 20 years and they were very rough. The strategic central road (MakkaAlmukaramah) that connects the airport with the state house was not reflecting the beauty of the city. Therefore, within two years, all the big roads in the capital are well repaired and reconstructed by the Turkish people. There are improvements to be made actually but they are in much better shape than ever.
K: Key support to vulnerable people; It was not only development or humanitarian projects which Turkey implemented in Somalia but there were specific projects that targeted particularly the poor vulnerable people in the capital. The Turkish people built a well-organized school which offers free accommodation and education services to the orphans in the country. They also launched a boarding school which offers high quality education and technical studies to the poor kids in Somalia.
E: Educational Support; Aside from building and constructing schools in the Capital, the Turkish government provided thousands of scholarship programs to the Somali nationals who are interested in furthering their studies. The scholarship programs did not go on unfairly as every individual had the opportunity to apply it online and wait his/her fate in winning it. Currently there are thousands of Somali students studying in Turkey for free and it is the first ever time that we got these chances fairly.
Inother words, the Turkish government sent engineers and agronomists to Mogadishu to practically train students who study Agricultural courses in the universities of Somalia and the secondary schools as well. They provided full accommodation and free classes to students from Agricultural institutions in every two months.
Y: Y factor; Somalia is becoming one of the shining nations in east Africa now, and it is all because of the president of Turkey who became the first president to visit Somalia twice in 4 years and show the world that the once failed nation on the globe is now recovering and on the right track for something special.
Above all, success is reached in step by step moving and there are always challenges on the road but they should be used in the positive way to rectify the future mistakes and obstacles. Therefore, there might be some slight weaknesses in the achievements we made for the last 3+ years, so let us concentrate and focus on the merits so the cons will disappear on time.
LIKE IT OR NOT TURKEY IS THE SAVIOR OF SOMALIA.
Mohamed Yonis Moalim