Statement by Dr. Kani Torun, the Turkish Ambassador to Somalia
Excellencies, my Dear Brothers and sisters,
Maalin Wanaag-san (Good Day)
Soo Dhawaada (Welcome)
It is indeed a great pleasure and honor for me to be with you today, and Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen let me began my speech by thanking each and every one of you for accepting my invitation to join me and my team in this important day.
I would like to convey to you a heartfelt greetings from the President of Turkey H.E. Abdullah Gul and Our Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the people of Turkey.
The government and the people of Turkey are committed to assist you in your struggle to rebuild your country and institutions and to move this great country of yours to a new area where your focus is about rebuilding national infrastructure, economic development and advancement of education. The Somali people do not deserve being in the middle of this long running conflict, living in peace and pursuing prosperity should be your destiny and this is within your hands.
We have made this decision to be a partner with you because our view of Somali people, we believe Somalia is a great country that the Somali people are struggling with a temporary and unfortunate situation.
We also know because of your resilience, because of your resourcefulness and because of your determination to survive, you are on the verge of overcoming one of the most difficult challenge that any modern nation-state has faced in the past fifty years-that is the collapse of the Somali state institutions, and yes, you are down, you are tested and your people suffered but you were neither crippled nor killed. The willpower of your people protected your country and is the best asset you have to get out of the mud.
The reason the Prime Minister of Turkey, His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Mogadishu on 19 August 2011 accompanied by the Foreign Minister H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu and their families followed by hundreds of other notable Turkish was to underline how serious and determined Turkey is in standing by Somalia during this hard times that this great country of yours is undergoing a tough and trying times.
When Turkey decided to come to Somalia and work on the ground during the famine times, the international community could no longer continue with their normal wait and see strategies. Action, rather that cynicism because the new reality and we are very pleased that visiting Mogadishu and permanently working from Mogadishu is the new norm and the new reality for the international community and that the culture of making a touch-down at the airport and making a U-Turn is the thing of the past.
In the past 8 months Turkey was busy with its humanitarian and rehabilitation efforts and as of today 12 Turkish aid and development agencies are in Somalia. Thus far, we have committed resources to many projects from field hospitals that cares for over 1000 patients every day to starting the ground work for major infrastructure projects such modern hospitals (we already opened a new 50 bed hospital and 3 more hospital are already in construction period total bed capacity of 400), schools and water wells, nutrition centers for famine victims, vocational training courses for women and youth, technical and capacity building support to government institutions and of course to scholarship that sent over 1500 ( Somali students to Turkey. I am very pleased to let you know this is only the beginning of much more support that my country plans to provide to the people Of Somalia.
As you may also know, every 2 months our Deputy PM H.E. Bekir Bozdağ and senior government officials visits Somalia to make sure our efforts is not a mere talk but tangible assistance is provided to you. You are all aware that Turkish Airlines started its biweekly flights from your Capital Mogadishu, this will end the isolation and neglect you felt for years.
I also must relate to you that every Turkish man, woman and child know about your cause, about your suffering and about your struggle to have a functioning institution and normal life. Turkish people are as eager and as determined as the Turkish government to stand with and support you in this journey and tour people have donated and collected over a three hundred million dollars on your behalf.
In addition to updating you the wok we have been doing in the past six month, the main reason I invited you and I am having this press conference is to officially announce the upcoming International Conference for Somalia in Istanbul on 1&2 of June 2012. As you may know, it has been decided at the end of the London Conference that a second international conference for Somalia will take place in İstanbul.
This conference will not just about you but it will be for you.
Unlike the previous conference Istanbul conference will not be participated just by the politicians but civil society as well. We want international community to hear the voice of grassroots organizations of Somalia.
Turkish Government plans to make the Istanbul Conference productive and fruitful for Somalia. Whether the outcome fruitful will however depend on how the Somali people and Somali leaders shoulder their responsibility and we are confident that you will rise for United, prosperous and peaceful Somalia.
Thank you, waa mahad-san tihin.