Ambassador Mehmet Yilmaz: Turkey will continue to provide support to Somali People

Turkish Ambassador to Somalia Mehmet Yilmaz
Turkish Ambassador to Somalia Mehmet Yilmaz

By:Jama Farah, Horndiplomat contributor

Turkey Ambassador to Somalia Mehmet Yilmaz gave an exclusive Interview to Voa Senior Journalist Harun Maruf said that the Turkish Government will continue to provide support to the Somali government and the Somali people. He said Turkey does not have an agenda in Somalia other than humanitarian one and to help Somalia stand its feet.

Amb Yilmaz – “We are trying to construct here the agencies, the institutions that modern state or government needs, and also infrastructure and both in terms of physical and in terms of human capital that Somalia needs to function its institutions and also to provide public services.”

On his reaction to Shabaab statement that the intended target was a Turkish convoy: “In the coming days we’ll have a clearer picture of what was the target, who was targeted. Somali authorities are working on that incident and probably they’ll reach a conclusion and we’ll have a better idea.”

Amb Yilmaz: “Turkey has invested in Somalia $1Billion + in Somalia since 2011. Direct budgetary to the government was $30, in 2019, a $100M in kind, cash in 2018. In the past Somalia needs were different, that is why we invested hospitals, roads, schools. Then our focus shifted to capacity building.”

Turkey and Somalia Ties

Turkey, under the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party government, launched a continental initiative to reach out to African countries whose relations with Turkey have been mostly limited since the early years of the Republic of Turkey.

Turkey’s vast aid effort at the height of the 2011 famine endeared it to many Somali people, and it has continued to pour in aid, much of it from private companies.

It has built schools, hospitals and infrastructure and providing Somalis with scholarships to study in Turkey. President Erdoğan has visited Mogadishu twice since his visit to the war-ravaged country in 2011. He was the first non-African leader to visit the war-ravaged country in 20 years.

Rapidly growing trade between the two nations has followed. In 2010, Turkish exports to Somalia totaled just $5.1 million. In five years, this figure ballooned to $123 million. In the space of a few years, Turkey has gone from Somalia’s 20th-largest source of imports to its fifth-largest

This is a developing story, Please check back at the Horndiplomat for Updates.

© Horn Diplomat 2019

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