A Turkish Airline airbus 321, according to media sources, landed at Hargeisa Egal International Airport, Somaliland, Thursday, following a switch from Mogadishu airport where security of airlines plying trade there has been irreversibly compromised after footage showed airport personnel collaborated with a suicicde bomber on a fate-aborted blowup of Daallo Airlines a few days earlier.
On board the plane were 232 passengers it picked up from Dubai destined for Somaliland, Somalia, and other destinations in the region.
Turkish airlines was among international carriers that chose Hargeisa over Mogadishu for fear of airline’s security and that of its passengers.
Ironically, Turkey, although it hosted the greatest number of talks between the Republic of Somaliland and Somalia, was, hitherto, seen as a partial go-between that made no secret of its fondness for the AMISOM-guarded, Al-Shabaab-plagued, weak government in Mogadishu.
Turkey rebuilt academies, polytechnics, hospitals, roads, trained military and other security personnel, offered scholarships and refurbished innumerable other institutions for Somalia. It did nothing for Somaliland.
Turkey is also in the process of building military bases in Somalia in Mogadishu, Puntland and in the Kismayu area. To clinch this it trains Somalia military and is planning to provide naval vessels and helicopters to the Somali army in the near future, as sources indicate.
The latest example of a mediator siding with one of the mediated parties is manifested in Mogadishu’s announcement that it will administer Somalia aviation – including Somaliland airspace – from Mogadishu despite the fact that Turkey chaperoned a meeting that brought together Somaliland, Somalia and ICAO officials in Turkey (2013) at the end of which it was signed that the Somalia-Somaliland airspace will be jointly administered with the main, head office located in Hargeisa.
The Somalia Minister for Aviation, Ali Jengeli, made it known only last week that ICAO has fully handed over to them control of the ‘Somalia’ airspace – a move that the Republic of Somaliland has denounced as a pipe-dream. The announcement, too, may yet be the cause of a ban to UN flights to Somaliland similar to that of May 2013 which was also precipitated by another ICAO-UNDP folly against the interests of Somaliland and its airspace.
Time will tell whether a change of heart on the part of Turkey will follow the example of its airlines.
FLASHBACK: Composition of Ankara meeting, 2015
Last meeting between the Republic of Somaliland and Somalia was held on 15 October 2015 in Ankara Turkey. It ended on impasse as the Somalia side sent Somaliland-born delegates to the negotiating table which went against the grain and spirit of bilateral talks between the Somalia and Somaliland states before their ill-fated, legally unconsummated union in 1960.
The composition of the delegates at that meeting was as follows:
- Hon Mahmoud Abdi Hashi, Minister of Civil Aviation and Air Transport
- Hon Said Abdi Mohamed, Deputy Minister of Civil Aviation and Air Transport
- Mr. Said Mahdi Ileeye, Director of Civil Aviation in the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Air Transport
- Mr. Ahmed Omer Caga-dable, Minister’s Legal Advisor
Federal Government of Somalia Team
- Hon Ali Ahmed Jama “Gangali”, Federal Government of Somalia Minister of Aviation and Transport
- Mr. abdiwaaxid Omer, Director of Aviation and Transport in the Federal Government of Somalia Ministry of Civil Aviation and Air Transport
- Mr. Mohamed Khalif, Legal Advisor
- Mr. Ahmed Abdurrahman, official Federal Government of Somalia Ministry of Civil Aviation and Air Transport
UN-ICAO and Turkey
- Mr. Ivan Galan, Director of Technical and Coordination Department
- Ms. Nancy Onyedim, ICAO Technical Cooperation, Turkey
- H. E Olgan Baker, Turkey Ambassador to Somaliland and Somalia
- Mr. Kareem Yilmaz, First Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey
- Mr. Hulusi Kilic, Director of East Africa Desk in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey
- Mr. Ahmed Riza Demirer, Turkey Special Envoy in charge of Somaliland and Somalia Talks
- Mr. Seval Ince, Air Traffic Controller, Turkey