Friday, December 07, 2012
President Gül (L) welcomes his Somalian counterpart Mohamud with ceremony. The president says Turkey will lobby for funds to establish security forces. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ
Turkey will lobby for the formation of an international fund to establish security forces for Somalia, President Abdullah Gül said Dec. 5 while pledging Turkey’s assistance on the issue both logistically and in regards to the training of the forces.
“Turkey wants to show the entire international community how to help another nation with humanitarian purposes and without any expectations. We are fulfilling this in the best way,” Gül said at a joint press conference with Somalia’s visiting president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
Armies and defense ministers in contact
Emphasizing the importance of security forces in a country being rebuilt, Gül said Turkey and Somalia had already been cooperating on this issue in terms of both logistics and the training of forces.
“We proposed to the international community the establishment of a fund to this end. We will work toward this during a donors’ meeting to be held in Istanbul in 2013,” Gül said. “As Turkey, we are continuing our strong efforts for the formation of Somali armed forces and a police institution, for their service to maintaining security and their own interests in the country,” he said, adding that the two countries’ defense ministers and chiefs of general staff had been in contact on the issues.
Ahead of the press conference, officials from the two countries signed agreements on military-financial cooperation and the implementation of cash assistance.
Somalia has been mired in violence, Islamist militancy and grinding poverty since warlords toppled military dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, leaving the country with no effective central government for two decades. Security has improved in the last 19 months with al-Qaeda-linked militants losing more territory under pressure from African Union and Somali forces.
The four-year insurgency waged by al-Shabaab left Mogadishu in ruins, and the country is looking to foreign donors to help rebuild its ravaged economy after decades of conflict. Turkey has taken a leading role in the redevelopment of Mogadishu, as it seeks to boost its profile in Africa and promote itself as a model Muslim democracy.
In November, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Ankara would construct streets in Mogadishu and other government buildings, while promising to rebuild the Parliament building as well. Turkish Airlines has operated regular flights to Mogadishu since March.