Somalia congratulates Turkey's Erdogan on poll win

By Yassin Juma, Monday, August 11, 2014

NAIROBI – Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud on Monday congratulated Turkish President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdogan on his victory in Sunday's presidential election.

"This is a historic vote and we know how important this vote is for Turkish politics and our friends the Turkish people," ” Mohamoud said in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by Anadolu Agency.

Erdogan, Turkey's outgoing prime minister, was elected president on Sunday by an outright majority, securing 51.96 percent of the vote, according to unofficial tallies.

Elected to a five-year term, Erdogan will take over the post from outgoing president Abdullah Gul. 

Mohamoud said that he was optimistic that under Erdogan's presidency, Somalia will benefit from the Turkish assistance Ankara has been lending to the troubled Horn of Africa country.

"Turkey has been supporting Somalia in terms humanitarian assistance, business, infrastructure, development and many others," he said.

Turkey, a key ally of the Somali government, first came to the assistance of the Somali people at the onset of the 2011 famine that saw thousands of Somalis die of hunger.

"Over the years, an excellent relationship has developed between the two countries and the Somali government and the Somali people are thankful for the Turkish support," Mohamoud said.

"We look forward to many years of friendship and mutual cooperation," he added. "I look forward to working with President Erdogan and the Turkish people as we build a new Somalia."

-True friend-

Turkey remains popular among ordinary Somalis and the news of Erdogan’s electoral victory was widely welcomed in the country.

"Turkey has proved to the people of Somalia that it stands with us through the hard times," lawmaker Omar Dalha, a former speaker of the Somali National Assembly, told AA.

"It became the first to build an embassy in Mogadishu, the largest school in the country, reconstruction of the port and so much more," he said. "Its aid mission here has cost the lives of its citizens but this has not deterred it from continuing to help us. Turkey is a true friend."

Expert Mohamed Alale echoed a similar view.

"Somalia was hoping that the presidential election is won by a person who will maintain the relationship between the two countries, especially in regard to aid," the Nairboi-based expert told AA.

"Erdogan as prime minister oversaw Turkish policy on Somalia. It's a status quo now and Mogadishu must be sighing”  Mohamed Alale a regional expert based in Nairobi told AA

Somali militant group Al-Shabaab, which is waging an insurgency, has however been angered by Ankara's support for the Somali government.

In July, it attacked the Turkish embassy in Mogadishu, leaving three people dead.

Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency