Turkey Seeks A Lasting Presence In Somalia Through Investment

Turkish Ambassador to Somalia, Kani Torun, told Daily Sabah: “We want to be permanent here not as a colonial power but as the brother of these people. We base our relations on mutual benefit. Our aim is not to exploit the resources of this country.” Noting that Turkey has started training the top officials of the Somali army in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, Torun added: “The biggest problem of this country is security. A well-trained army is crucial to improve the future of this country.”

Somalia is rich in natural resources such as oil, natural gas, coal and uranium. Some U.S. companies want to dig for oil, while a Norwegian company will start extracting natural gas from the sea in the upcoming months, according to a Somali official.

Although Turkey spends a huge amount of money on the country – hundreds of millions of dollars per year – Ambassador Torun said: “There is no Turkish company that is capable of establishing a facility to extract oil, natural gas or uranium. Turkey’s aims seem ambiguous, as the most beneficial resources of the country will not be used by Turkey. Turkish personnel, living in Mogadishu and carrying out services offered by Turkish institutions, including the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) and the Turkish Red Crescent, were disappointed with Turkey’s inability to benefit from these resources and asked what would be the outcome of Turkey’s investments. The personnel, working under very tough conditions, especially in terms of security, were happy to deliver humanitarian aid but were wondering about the reasons behind Turkey’s intervention in Somalia’s internal politics, as Turkey supports the central Somali government.

Read it at the Daily Sabah.