Somaliland: Is Turkey Intended on a Neo-Empire in East Africa?


President Silanyo of Somaliland and PM Erdogan of Turkey in a handshake of friendship

Somalilandsun – Turkish seems to be dedicated to revive its historical empiricism, in East Africa particularly Somaliland where the Ottoman Empire left architectural legacy writes researcher Mohamed Barawaani in this piece titled “Somaliland – Turkish Relations: Can be both Historical Restoration and Geopolitical Dynamic in the Horn of African”

Somaliland – Turkish Relations: Can be both Historical Restoration and Geopolitical Dynamic in the Horn of African

By Mohamed A. Mohamoud (Barawaani) November- 2013 1.


Somaliland – Turkish relations has raised nowadays for two main intentions, first and foremost, Turkish seems to be dedicated to revive its historical empiricism, in East Africa particularly Somaliland which Ottoman Empire left architectural legacy, in many important places of the coastal areas in Somaliland. Second Somaliland appeared to be one of the strategic horizons in the Horn of Africa that the successive its colonial powers had done little or neglected during African partition and all the way post- colonial and post – tyranny – conflict recovery period. In addition, this relationship commenced directly between Somaliland and Turkish and it has no motive other than promoting co-operation and political ties between the two countries, after Somaliland has reasserted its sovereignty and political independence in 1991. There were some misconceptions in the Muslim world about Somaliland withdrawal of the failed union in 1960 where yet a number of rigid notions apparently become visible across many Muslim countries, in particularly Arab League nations.

Moreover, these bilateral relations explicitly decreasing in this existed phobia which indicating that some Muslim countries detested the people of Somaliland because of their choices of self- determination. Since the inception of the Turkey journey to Africa – especially Somaliland territory where Turkey has embarked upon historical relations with the Republic of Somaliland in between 16-17 centuries during the Ottoman Empire. In the meantime there are some raising questions among diplomatic and social spheres which mostly are optimistic and showing credible signals, there is a sense of social fatigue in pursuant of conventional aid modalities which neither contribute viable employment activities nor the poor infrastructure in the country, therefore, Turkish approach which not yet tested but anticipated to deliver pragmatic patterns of advanced development modalities and economic development.

Turkey – Ottoman Empire had widely approached Somaliland coastal area around sixteenth century and the footprint yet to be visible in different places, many Muslim countries are recently seem to be entertaining a dual track policy to deal with both Somaliland and Somalia, where most west countries have already pursued dual track policy and appreciated Somaliland to remain peaceful and democratic nation. Despite the recently Obama’s Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Miss. Linda Thomas has lately announced that U.S. dual track policy discarded which indeed is hasty diplomatic and impractical decision considering the strategic long-term partnership between Somaliland and US government.

However, Somaliland itself to forging mutual relationship with Muslim countries around the world as Turkey –UAE, Kuwait and Sucadi Arabia may pave the way the Islamic political maturity. Noting the long regime of Egypt led by the first ousted President Mr. Mubarik had manipulated both in African Union, Arab league and Muslim countries, regarding the case of Somaliland sovereign state. Thus, the Turkey gradual policy should bring Somaliland to showcase many its positive elements including Somaliland’s state building enterprise, resilience and commitment to accomplish international recognition, the context of contemporary political and economic development in Somaliland is more pragmatic chain that can contend any signs of vulnerability and fragmentation.

2. Importance of the pursuant of Somaliland and Turkish Relations

In the onset of the President of the Republic of Somaliland visited to Turkey where he supposed to meet the Prime Minister –Erdogan but for health reasons of the Prime Minister that meeting did not occur where the president met the deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, it was a type of diplomatic maneuvering Somaliland to approach one of the international Muslim powers

– Turkey who last decades intensified its hard and soft power. Aftermath of that meeting the Turkey accelerated its policies and interventions in Somaliland and Turkish government clearly understood that Somaliland and Somalia are two African countries shared unworkable history for three decades, and then disbanded. One of the press statements issued by the Office of the Turkish President Abdullah Gul is highlighting his government commitment and good treatment with both sides.

Office of Presidency of the Republic of Turkey delivered following statement: – The three Presidents discussed how to overcome the current conflicts between Somalia and Somaliland, reviewed Turkey-Africa relations which have considerably gained momentum in recent years and tackled other regional issues during their talks which Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also attended. This meeting between Presidents Gül, Mohamud and Silanyo is regarded as the first step toward the resolution of the existing problems between the two African countries by means of dialogue and good will.

As far as the above statement has enlightened, if Ankara government fosters its bilateral development activities and diplomatic relations with Hargeysa, and if the mindset of the Turkish leadership believes and behaves the fact that Somaliland and Somalia are two African countries, the Gul, and Erdogan will rapidly attain the sociability and overwhelming support from Somaliland on issues towards the establishment of economic and trade cooperation between two countries. However, the frequently visits of Somaliland President to Turkey and having seen unanimity of the Turkish leadership cordial receptive of President of the Republic of Somaliland marked complete revive of historical ties . In the inception of the talks there was a great doubt that Turkish government is not impartial over the case of Somaliland and Somalia dialogue as many Muslim countries misconceived the issues of the two sides.

Thus, the outcome of the discourse and equal treatment of the Turkish government may influence the sociological and psychological thinking of the people of Somaliland since many countries on the world are inflexible to exam the arguments of Somaliland being independent sovereign state. On the other hand there are many countries which are realistic and sympathetic

Somaliland to remain independent sovereign and democratic nation because it was revealed that Somaliland is reliable international partner that deserves to be elevated. Nevertheless, the new important multilateral actors such as Turkey would able to advance how international attention towards Somaliland and Somalia must be balanced since Somaliland deserves to be rewarded and recognized following its two decades of peaceful successive democratic leadership, resilience and freedom of expression. Somaliland has strong observation the contradictory tendencies that would likely occur since the international community is attempting to forcibly install a government in Mogdisho.

through consent decisions as well as public referendum that 97% delivered a clear message to phantom union of Somalia and international community in general.

3. Somaliland – Turkey Relations are in Progress

The most recent trip of the president of Republic of Somaliland in Turkey has marked both sides enthusiasm for future strategic collaboration, since March 2013 the Somaliland –Turkish relations incredibly moved forward and attained to lay the profound amicable ties. Furthermore , the last visit of the Somaliland President on October -2013 has further examined creating in depth diplomatic and economic relations whereby first diplomatic exchange to be charted to transpire opening bilateral Offices both Ankara and Hargeysa and the features of these Offices can be akin in Ethiopia and Demark. In this essence if Turkish wants talks to succeed, further pressure on Somalia side is extremely required, because Somalia leaders are either inconsistent or incapable to illustrate what is workable in the long run and the will and aspirations of the people of Somaliland is nonnegotiable.

In this Case, Somaliland is demanding Turkish and international community as whole to bring leaders of Somalia realistic and competent to take two states way out which is the possible option and the only option for both sides. Eventually, most Somaliland people welcomed this encouraging move of Somaliland –Turkish relations and people of Somaliland have also some reservations about this embryonic relationship between two sides. Noting that most Muslim countries indifferently misunderstood issues on Somaliland and Somalia as the previous union and what is the basis of Somaliland’s withdrawal from that union, so this anticipated propensity of many Muslim countries are either influenced by some myopic view or lack of comprehensive historical background about two nation entities. Furthermore, reviving these historical ties between Somaliland and Turkey dependence on how Turkish leaders appear resuming new paradigm on political and trade relations, Somaliland sought to have a superpower like Turkey who keeps two state mutual interests and bring the international concentration buoyant considering what people of Somaliland decided.

The legacy of the Ottoman Empire in Somaliland can be a historical connection with Turkish strategic milestone in the Republic of Somaliland. Moreover, currently the history of Ottoman Empire was eliminated by the successive European colonizers included British, French and Italy, hence, reiterating and renewal of this backdrop demands holistic strategic relationship which is sensible and coherent.

4. Conclusion

As far as historians are concerned the Republic of Somaliland has had a brilliant Archeological Artifact history, regarding the caves painted in Las-Geel demonstrating that Somaliland existed thousands of years and had linkages with Ottoman Empire, ancient Egypt, the Romans, the Persians, Portuquese and late European African Partition movement. From this historical point of view, Somaliland can intensify its political and trade relations with such a great country of Turkey. In the meantime Somaliland has very apparent potential Extractive Industries that can generate significantly to country’s economic development and immediate recovery from the ruins of wars of 1982-1990.

Somaliland is able to look forward with any bilateral partnership and trade relations because this is a peaceful and secure environment that multinational investors can explore various productive clusters. To this end, it is undeniable that Somaliland devoted in building a society on peace, democratic and liberty, the variety of opinions demonstrating the political maturity of the opposition parties and ruling party to argue some of the issues, and this is indispensible in every

democratic nation to debate and contradict but this is unusual in the African context particularly the IGAD countries, and this is where democratic nations like Turkey required to congratulate and support in such a great deal of efforts made by the people of Somaliland. Therefore, any country that respects the desires of the people of Somaliland and their freedom assembly being independent sovereign state, indeed is not only helping Somalilander but helping entire world specially Africa to be more independent nations, nations who rely on their own efforts, civilization and heritage.

Mohamed A. Mohamoud (Barawaani) Independent Researcher and Horn African Analysist, Author of various academic papers about Somaliland and Somalia: Email:

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