The aim of this study was to gain a better understanding of Turkey’s unique humanitarian and development model in Somalia compared with traditional donors, and to share lessons learned and policy considerations with other donors, development actors, policymakers, academics and the general public.
Our investigations revealed that Turkey’s initial engagement with Somalia was purely humanitarian with the aim of alleviating human suffering in 2011. After Erdogan’s visit, the Turkish government, private companies, NGOs and individuals embarked on a fundraising campaign for Somalia. Most of our research, which was conducted three years after Erdogan’s visit, shows that the Turkish impact in Somalia, especially in Mogadishu, was highly visible. Turkish involvement in education, agriculture, health, construction of roads, garbage cleaning, construction of military barracks, military and police trainings in Turkey and the peace-building efforts between Somalia and Somaliland made their model different from the traditional donors and highly visible.
The findings also show that Turkey received a warm welcome from Somali leaders and the Somali people because of the historical relationship between the two countries and their Muslim identity. The majority of the Somalis who participated in this study expressed positive attitudes towards Turkish engagement in Somalia. Western countries working in Somalia were concerned about the low level of coordination and cooperation with them but believed that Turkey was more visible and quicker to act.