Erdoğan, Davutoğlu to visit Somalia with their families

Erdogan, addressing a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party, said he would be accompanied by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Erdoğan, Davutoğlu to visit Somalia with their families

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has announced that he will be visiting Somalia in a few days, to "see the situation in the country [himself]."

Delivering a speech at a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) on Wednesday, Erdoğan said he was going to visit Somalia with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, also accompanied by their families throughout the visit.

"We will be prepared to help in Somalia as if we were the only ones helping the famine victims," Erdoğan said, highlighting that the efforts the country will make in Somalia will extend to all fields that need the contribution of the international community.

Separately in Somalia, Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA) Chairman Serdar Çam has announced plans to open a new coordination office in Somalia, while he noted Turkey was poised to help further by helping Somalia become a stronger player in the fields of international trade, the economy, agriculture and industry.

As the first humanitarian aid gathered by the combined efforts of TİKA, other government institutions and private enterprise landed earlier this week in famine-stricken Somalia, Çam and aid teams led by Turkish Red Crescent Society (Kızılay) General Manager Ömer Taşlı visited refugee camps on Tuesday to deliver aid packages to the Somalis, the Anatolia news agency reported. The delegation talked to the famine-stricken people as they handed out packages containing milk, biscuits, chocolate and candies to children.

Having witnessed signs that "the Somali state is gradually setting up its own system," Çam said that the people of Somalia needed peace and comfort before the state can reach all its citizens and take care of their needs.

"As a society that feels deeply for the pain Somalis are going through, particularly in this holy month of Ramadan, we are here to deliver food aid to the country and make sure it reaches people even in the farthest corners of the land," Çam was quoted as saying by Anatolia.

Commenting on the branch TİKA office to be established in Mogadishu, Çam reiterated that there was much to do in the long term to develop the country, strengthen the infrastructure and empower the state in the service of its people, which made it a must for TİKA to establish the office. "We will try to contribute to the Somali state by the facilities of our own country," Çam said.

He also suggested that Turkey could pass on its experience in statehood to Somalia, which needs strong institutions to govern the economic activities to be established in the country. Pointing to a brotherhood between Turkey and Somalia, Çam said, "Turkey is not here only to provide aid for the country; it is also in the position to contribute to development in Somalia, in the fields of international trade, the economy, agriculture and industry."

Çam also announced the initiation of feasibility studies for a mobile hospital to be established in the country upon the order of Prime Minister Erdoğan. "We will try to build the infrastructure that can deliver health services to various places in the country," Çam said.

In a related development, in Ankara, Health Minister Recep Akdağ told Anatolia on Wednesday that they are prepared to establish up to six mobile health units in Somalia.

"The six units are waiting to be deployed in Somalia upon the designation of safe and suitable places within the country," Akdağ said. Each unit is projected to have a staff of 20 people, including doctors and nurses, Akdağ said, as the minister stated that the first aid shipment delivered to Somalia contained 10 tons of medical supplies, used particularly in the treatment of diseases stemming from conditions caused by drought and famine. The health personnel to be stationed in these mobile units consists of doctors and nurses who volunteer to work in Somalia, as the minister explained that nobody was coerced into taking part in the health initiative.

Calling the situation in Somalia a "weeping wound," Akdağ suggested that Turkey, as a country with the ability to help those in need, "will also prosper as it shares its resources with the needy."

Cihan news agency

Last Mod: 10 Ağustos 2011, 17:11
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