Somaliland: Turks are in Somalia to Sell the Toothbrush of “Salvadora Persica”

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Hasan O Horri

History chronicles that during the peak of the Somali catastrophe, the revered Kingdom and home to Mr. Khashoggi , and without a plausible reason the import of livestock from the Horn for eleven consecutive years.

By: Hassan O. Horri

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Jamal Khashoggi, a wealthy Saudi journalist, and media aide to the Royal Al-Saud family asked whether the Turks are in Somalia to sell beads in an article titled “Are the Turks in Somalia for the hajj or to sell beads?” Posted by the Arab News Sunday, 20 January 2013 (http://english.alarabiya.net/views/2013/01/20/261446.html) and Somaliland Sun (www.somalilandsun.com/index.php/regional/2138-are-turks-in-somalia-for-the-hajj-or-to-sell-beads)

We owe Mr. Khashoggi some light shedding on imperative issues that he botched or disregarded to address. First of all, let’s induce the author to comprehend that the Turks are not in Somalia for beads. Instead, they are here to sell the toothbrush of Salvadora Persica. This is the slender branches of the “tree of a thousand uses” which is used for medicinal, cosmetic, religious and other raison d’être due to its antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, sedative and related effects.

Turks are here, in Somaliland and Somalia; to save abandoned lives, educate tens of thousands through free scholarships in Ankara, and to rebuild ports, bridges and hospitals that have remained unfeasible for ages. Their presence is devoted to ensuring that Somali people are once again on their feet as reverent members of the world community.

To the contrary and for decades, some of our Saudi tutors were here, in the Horn, to teach, invest in and market a weird construal

Salvadora Persica tree

of Islam with the price tag of obliteration and loss of precious lives of loved ones. This dilemma occurs through their faithful adherents in the guise of Al-Shabaab, Al-Itihad and Al-Hijra wa Takfir with the result that every awkward wickedness in the Horn, regrettably, is not only branded but is a product of our Saudi brethren.

History chronicles that during the peak of the Somali catastrophe, the revered Kingdom and home to Mr. Khashoggi BANNED, and without a plausible reason the import of livestock from the Horn for eleven consecutive years. The broken pact was substituted with more expensive and of poor quality consignment from Australia and New Zealand in awarding the two countries hefty letters of credit. This shift maximized the

disruptions to pastoral livelihoods in the Horn where over 80% of livelihoods rely on livestock. Thus the Somali people in the Horn contemplate that Saudi Arabia should be the last to converse about their destiny.

Mr. Khashoggi wrote his piece when Genel Energy an Anglo Turkish company was commencing a ten weeks airborne high-resolution survey of Aeromag & Gravity within the territories of Somaliland. The airborne survey is followed by an extensive 2D seismic assessment covering 3000 km within the target area. The operation initially cost USD 40 million. Hence the presence of Tony Hayward, former CEO of British Petroleum (BP) and current CEO of Genel Energy, in the region is enough to raise the eyebrows of the Gulf oil producers. In lieu of this engagement by international oil companies in the Horn, shouldn’t we be allowed to muse that Mr. Khashoggi’s ill comments were the manifestation of his kinsmen distaste for any activity that alleviates poverty thus negate the need for handouts distributed by the kingdom as alms?

We are not necessarily introducing the entity of Somaliland to the perception of the writer, considering that the country is not charted in his national interest map. But withstanding that Somaliland has seen an upsurge of interest in its known oil reserves, in addition to the Anglo Turkish Genel Energy ongoing exploration activities include a number of worldwide actors among them South Africa’s Ophir energy, Jacka Resources ltd of Australia and Petrosoma Ltd from the UK.

I am anxious that this issue is worth thence deserving ample opportunity for discussion within the media and intelligence bureaus of Jeddah and Riyadh. In order for a comprehension and the consequent acceptance of why Turkey wanted to fit into the Horn needs thus shape up the scene beyond just the notion of self –sacrifice (altruism) but to partake on other geopolitical objectives that are within the framework of logic as well.

Although the Turks are the latest to intercede in the thorny Somalia dilemma, its wise engagement has created good results. At the height of the famine, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s vigorous visit to Mogadishu in August 2011 gave unsullied momentum to the course of addressing the drought and creating a window for ever lasting peace. Unsung wholehearted gratitude goes to the Turkish government and people.

H/E Erdoğan was here, accompanied by his family and more than 200 political, business and cultural elite after he allocated most of his UN General Assembly speech to Somalia. He spoke passionately about the suffering of ‘WE” and how “THEY” intend to resolve our crisis. Turks felt remorse to enjoy the luxury of life as long as their faith brothers and sisters are suffering from both natural and Man- made disasters. In parallel to that, his ardent Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told the Somalis, “our destiny is tied to the destiny of the Somali people … this is a strategic choice”.

This is a strategic Choice. Not the strategic vision of Saudi Arabia revealed in Khashoggi’s article, “Next to us, we Saudis, and within our strategic security sphere, lies a country biting the dust for more than two decades.” In his words he passed on that Saudis endeavored to get solutions in Somalia on one or two occasions, and then moved away. Again Mr. Khashoggi amazingly wants to know “Who wants to help Somalia?” In his classification Somalis are “unruly, plagued by differences and internecine strife, and ruled by warlords.” And his verdict was that, “Everyone lost hope in Somalia and no one believed the failed state would recover anytime soon.”

Mr. Erdoğan’s visit to Somalia has unwrapped Somalia as a war ravaged country that can become a responsible and a stable member of the Muslim world and international community. The visit also hastened the world acclaimed talks between the neighborly and brotherly states of Somaliland and Somalia that had not faced one another for over two decades.

What makes Turkish foreign policy distinctive is that it can take an altruist tone, yet its attendance in Somalia is less quivering that those of Western powers, given its lineage as a non-colonial power and 

Genel Energy has 1 billion in cash for new investments in Somaliland

Turkish-Somali relations date back to the 16th century when the Ottomans came to Somalis’ aid fending off Ethiopian and Portuguese expeditionary forces. By the 17th century Somali coastal towns were controlled by local sultanates with nominal links to the Ottoman Empire. Contemporary Turkey-Somali relations began with the opening of the Somali Embassy in Ankara in 1979. In May 1993 Lt. General Çevik Bir was appointed force commander of the UN Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM). During the civil war, some Turkish organizations such as (IHH) provided assistance through partners.

horri@somalilandsun.com

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