The commemoration of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 10th anniversary of his 2011 visit to Somalia was held jointly by Yunus Emre Enstitüsü – London and the Global Somali Diaspora (GSD) on Saturday 21st August 2021.
During the evening of talks and commemorations, the positive impacts of President Erdogan’s visit to Somalia, the revitalized the relations of the two brotherly countries, and the future of their cooperation was discussed.
The event featured important speakers from both nations, including Bazi Bussuri, board member of the GSD, who moderated the talks, Dr. Mehmet Karakuş, Yunus Emre Enstitüsü – London Director, Bora Özgür, Political Counselor from the Turkish Embassy in London, Jawahir Dahir, GSD’s chairwoman, Councillors Mohamed Hassan and Harbi Farah, as well as Bishara Mohamud director of the Anti-Tribalism Movement and Abdinor Dahir, Turkey-Africa relations specialist at the University of Oxford.
During the talks, many of the speakers expressed their gratitude for the Turkish government’s intervention following the 2011 visit to Somalia that saved thousands of Somalis in need of urgent humanitarian support. It was also emphasized that Turkish interventions were important not only for Somalia but also for the entire region of the Horn of Africa.
Bora Özgür from the Turkish Embassy in London also emphasized that President Erdogan’s visit to Mogadishu had a significant impact on Somalia: it ended two decades of Somali diplomatic isolation and brought international attention to the country. Mr Özgür highlighted that Turkey’s humanitarian aid and development activities in Somalia were a success story. In honour of the 10th anniversary of the visit and growing relations, Jawahir Dahir, GSD’s chairwoman, presented the Turkish Embassy in London with an award.
Using the 2019 Somali diaspora event in Istanbul facilitated by Yunus Emre Institute in 2019 as an example, Yunus Emre Institute – London Director Dr Mehmet Karakuş also emphasized how the Institute had facilities and is ready to further facilitate the Turkish-Somali diaspora communities relations. Dr Karakuş stated that Yunus Emre Institute would like to further develop Turkey-Somalia relations in the future. To achieve this, Dr. Karakuş stated that the Institute would aim to work with the GSD more often and would like to help open a Somali language education centre in London.
Echoing these sentiments of cooperation and development, Abdinor Dahir, Turkey-Africa relations specialist at the University of Oxford, recounted the famous proverb when referring to Turkey’s aid and support to Somalia: ‘If you give a man a fish, you feed him a day. But if you teach him how to fish, you feed him the rest of his life.’