The Turkey-Somalia Business Forum held in Istanbul establishes new and strong ties among the peoples of Turkey and Somalia and Africa, the Turkish presidency spokesman said Tuesday.
Ibrahim Kalin issued a statement underlining the importance of the business forum as part of Turkey’s engagement in Africa, which was adopted in 1998.
Turkey started providing humanitarian assistance to Somalia in 2011.
Kalin stressed that the sixth Turkey-Somalia Business Forum is Ankara’s latest in comprehensive aid activities towards Somalia.
He added that the visit by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, when he was prime minister in 2011, to Somalia as drought and high insecurity were plaguing the country “was a milestone in modern Somalia’s history”.
“Since 2011, Turkey has made a concentrated effort to provide the Somali people’s basic needs” security, education, health, institutional capacity building, the building of state institutions, roads, ports, airports, fisheries and energy,” Kalin said.
“Compared with 2011, today, Somalia is in much better position,” he added.
Kalin also mentioned Turkish doctors’ charity programs in Somalia.
“Turkish doctors have offered health services to half a million Somalis, so far,” Kalin said.
According to Kalin’s statement, the total amount of Turkish aid for Somalia thus far has reached $500 million. However Kalin added that 40 percent of the Somalia’s population needs still humanitarian aid.
The UN has said an estimated 857,000 people inside Somalia are currently “in crisis and emergency conditions”, while almost 2 million Somalis suffer from food insecurity. Another 1 million are refugees in neighboring countries.