World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan travelled to the Somali capital Mogadishu under heavy security on Sunday, making his second visit in four years to promise further investment in the country as it struggles to rebuild after two decades of conflict.
Erdogan, who in 2011 became the first non-African leader to go to Somalia in nearly 20 years, visited various projects that have benefited from Turkish investment, including a new airport terminal and a rehabilitated seaport.
In a statement welcoming the visit, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said Turkish aid has been a "force of nature" for Somalia.
"Turkey did not hold back, waiting for stability before it invested. Instead, it invested to achieve it," he said.
"Somalia is recovering and achieving significant developments, such as taking control of several areas that were in the grip of Al-Shabaab militant movement," Mohamoud said in a statement on the sidelines of an ongoing visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Mogadishu.
"If it had not been for Turkey's generous support, along with the rest of the international community, we wouldn't have achieved such progress," Mohamoud added.
Mohamoud went on to say that Turkey's contribution to the development and stability in Somalia is "an indication of the fraternal relations [between the two countries], especially in such critical period we are going through."
"We hope that this relationship continues after Somalia achieves prosperity and stability," he said.
Erdogan attended Sunday the official opening of a 200-bed Somalia-Turkey Training and Research Hospital in Mogadishu.
The two countries signed a protocol stipulating that the hospital would be operated jointly and that the Turkish Health Ministry would provide specialized personnel and financial support for the next five years, after which the hospital will be run by Somalia.
The Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) -- Turkey's international development body -- undertook the project.
The estimate amount of the hospital’s operating budget is around $135.7 million, of which Turkey will contribute $85.6 million during the five-year period.
Some 36 Somali assistants are expected take part in the hospital’s training program each year.
Some 52 Turkish and 91 local staff will work as hospital administrators, head doctors, administrative directors or financial directors. Security will be provided by 40 Somalis and five Turkish citizens.
The hospital will have children, maternity, urology, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, internal medicine, general surgery, anesthesia, eye and dental branches.
The 13,500-square-meter indoor space boasts 12 intensive care beds, 14 newborn intensive care beds, 20 incubators, four operating rooms, a delivery room, as well as radiology and laboratory units.
Erdogan also attended the inauguration ceremony of a new terminal at Mogadishu Airport, constructed by the private Turkish construction company, Kozuva.
"I wish this building will bring good luck to Somalia, which has gone through hard times," he said.
"Somali people will never forget the aid of Turkish people," said Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud.
Last Mod: 25 Ocak 2015, 17:23