Turkey launched a massive humanitarian aid campaign following a visit to Somalia by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyıp Erdoğan in August. The nation raised more than TL 526 million for Somalia in fundraising drives that began during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to data released by the Prime Ministry’s Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD).
Torun said a part of the aid collected in Turkey for Somalia will be used for infrastructure developments. “Investment is needed to establish hospitals and roads, and water and electricity supply. A country cannot be developed if there is no infrastructure in the country,” he said.
Torun, calling Turkey’s efforts in Somalia twofold, said Turkey will also work to bring together the various conflicting parties of the war-torn region. “Our mission will also be a diplomatic one. We will do our best in peaceful diplomatic activities toward facilitating understanding and putting the guns down in the region because, unfortunately, investment cannot be made where there is no security. The silencing of weapons is necessary for security.”
Erdoğan had re-opened the Turkish Embassy in Mogadishu, which had previously been closed due to security concerns, to demonstrate Turkey’s investment in Somalia.
Torun is a doctor and was formerly chairman of the UK branch of Doctors Worldwide.
Turkey plans to build the largest children’s hospital in East Africa in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. The children’s hospital will be funded and constructed by the Yardım Eli aid association and will contain 100 beds. The complex in which the hospital will be located will also include an education center, a mosque and a guesthouse. Somalia has been experiencing its worst drought in the last 60 years as well as also dealing with ongoing conflict and terrorist attacks in the region.