Ankara to Start a New Dual Track Policy for Somaliland & Somalia
By: Mahmoud Qodah
- Turkey government is ready to extend support given to Somaliland in every means.
- Turkey Requests the suspension of activities of Fethulah Gullen – a US-based cleric it blames for the failed military takeover – in Somaliland
- Turkey Consular General Prays for the Martyrs who lost their lives in fighting against the coup.
- Turkey government has officially announced that it accepted Somaliland passport as an one of its official travel documents, and that the visa-stamp will be provided in its diplomatic office in Hargeisa. Turkey in the meantime has pledged that it will increase its humanitarian and development assistance given to Somaliland in every means, in which he noted to equal to the donations given to Somalia without differentiations.It likewise noted that it will start a new dual track policy on humanitarian and development assistance for Somalia and Somaliland, as it has officially requested the suspension of activities of Fethulah Gullen – a US-based cleric it blames to be the mastermind of the failed military coup attempt on last Friday (July 15, 2016)– in Somaliland.
This has been declared in a press conference held by Muzaffer Yuksel, the Consul General of Turkey to Somaliland. In this press conference the Turkey Consulate Office has dedicated as it has prayed for those martyrs who sacrificed their lives for safeguarding the democratic institutions as well as the democratically elected government of Turkey.
More than 50,000 soldiers, police, judges, civil servants and teachers have been suspended or detained since last weekend’s failed coup plotted by a faction of Turkey military.
Ankara has vowed to root out those who support Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric it blames for the failed military takeover, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also called for parliament to consider applying the death penalty for the plotters.
Accepting Somaliland Passport
“To start with the new protocols the president and First Lady of Somaliland were the first to benefit from use of the local passport to Turkey” said Consul General Muzaffer Yuksel. He added the government officials and diplomats holding Somaliland passports will initially use the visas soon.
The president of Somaliland Ahmed Mahmud Silanyo accompanied by the First Lady Amina Weris have concluded their visit and returned to the country after their private visit to Turkey where they entered with valid visas stamped on their Somaliland passports.
Accepting Somaliland passport as an official travel document by Turkey is going to become a good news for Somaliland citizens who followed closely to the recent failed coup attempt in Turkey where thousands of Somaliland youth have posted ‘the image of President Erdogan’ and Turkey Flags to their FACEBOOK profile pictures in showing their support for the democratically elected President and Turkey government.
Request on suspending the Gullen’s Organization in Somaliland
“While aware that Somaliland has rules and regulations that govern operations of foreign humanitarian and development organizations in the country we have submitted an official request for the suspension of Turkish institutions funded by the Gulen movement,” said Consul General Muzaffer Yuksel.
Somaliland government, unlike its neighbouring Somalia which immediately shut down all Gulen funded organizations after Turkey failed coup attempt; it took a different root, and noted it won’t ban the organization from the country, unless it committed something contrary to the rules and the regulations of country.
“Currently the Nile Academy continues its operations in the country and continue to fulfill all conditions set by the Government as such there is no reason to pull them out of the country, as we are not concerned by the actions done by neighbouring Somalia,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation Dr. Sa’ad Ali Shire.
Fethullah Gulen, who was a former key ally of Erdogan has been blamed by the President and the politicians of Turkey of using his contacts to develop a ‘parallel structure’ to orchestrate the rebellion in overthrowing the democratically elected institutions.
President Erdogan has called on US President Barack Obama to extradite Gulen, who is based in Pennsylvania.
The US-based Turkish cleric has dismissed the coup plot accusations, as he claimed President Recep Erdogan staged the rebellion himself to justify a major clampdown on opposition forces.
Summery on Turkey Failed Coup Attempt: What happened at that night?
“First of all, I would like to thank you for your understanding. These are very historic and extraordinary days for our Country and for our people, first of all, let me thank all friendly countries including Somaliland government which condemned terrorist coup attempt and which give support for our president and government. I am aware that you all follow the development from the media since last Friday evening. Last Friday evening, you remember that coup attempt started. And the Embassies at the Capitals have been sharing information, as I gonna do today, in the same with the relevant authorities. Now back to my briefings, let me summarize what have happened that night in Turkey. On the evening of July 15, a faction of a Turkish Military forces attempted to stage a coup in every city of Turkey, particularly in Istanbul and Ankara.
“This was a terrorist campaign to our nation and it hurts a lot to our nation and we suffered a lot. Today’s briefings basically will be about that. Now we would like to start the program with prayers for the martyrs. That day’s attempt caused for a lot of people to loss their lives while defending our nation, the democracy, and the democratic institution. Coup plotters, they targeted everybody, our government, president and even the Prime Minister and even their commanding officers, generals and Chief of Staff, and specially attacked the police Head Quarters, so it was very unfortunate event that took place in our history, may be one of the worst cases. So the future generation will remember this event as not only a heinous one but as an enemy, the worst enemy that took place in our history because a group from our own people, a group from the military attacked, killed and fired their own people.”
Historic Relations between Somaliland/Turkey
“I am the Consul General here in Hargeisa, and I have been here for less two years. The Turkish Consulate is in real term the diplomatic mission opened in here, Somaliland. Before us there was an Ethiopian office, which was the first diplomatic mission, and Turkey the second. Since the first day I followed an agenda to do with our collogue, our brothers, and sisters. We are one of you, we are not foreigners. We are not different. Both culturally and religiously we have a lot in common, going back to Othman empire in the history.
With that understanding, till today we acted accordingly. May be we couldn’t do what has been expected from us, but still it may take some time. We are a family, in my understanding. We are not here to do some businesses, but we are here to work with the Somaliland people. So will pray for the martyrs, nor only ours, but all also for those of Somaliland.”
Justifying Arrests and Suspensions of the Gullen Movement as a “Precaution Measures”
“Gullen Group has a good relationship with every segment of our society, and not the academicians, security, military, teachers and everybody. This is just a precaution measure. The new high education board of Turkey decided to renew, start and set up a new one, which is what the government is doing.‘A new relationship’. The government wants to figure out the extension, because this is a kind of a secretive organization and you can’t get out all the relationships.
So you need to understand and figure out the relationship and where it is going. This is just a precaution.”
“About 1500 university deans and rectors have been resigned by the high education board. It is done because it is only a precaution, because the government after the failed coup is vigilant of any new attempt, and give more attention against any possible attacks or assassinations by individuals. It is impossible that the government to jail all those academicians. The government knows that. That is impossible, but in order to know if something is clean or not, it may take some time. For example, if you think you are clean and you didn’t know anything wrong, why should you be worried? I have nothing to worry, because i didn’t go with anything and I didn’t know anything.
“Again all those actions were precautions and the government banned them to go outside. And that doesn’t necessarily mean that they were all guilt directly involved in the coup attempt and that they will be severely punished, so if they didn’t know anything, there is no problem at all under the law or against the law.”
In an answer of how the government knew about this organization, the Consular noted, “The Head of FETO is in somewhere in Pennsylvania, so the government has every means to know; the power, the intelligence and the knowledge, but individually we don’t know about all their every decision, and Insha-allah we will continue later.”
Pledge on Extending Turkey’s Support to Somaliland
Eventually Consul General talked that his government is ready to extend support given to Somaliland in every means which he noted to be a sign with the South (Somalia) to donate to Somaliland government and people without differentiation. He added “If Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is signed with them, and then my government is ready to sign the same thing with you. But first we need to start up the negotiation. We are two nations and we need to develop and improve our relationship.”
Somaliland/Somalia talks: Turkey’s impartiality questioned?
The Consul General stressed that diplomatic changes don’t immediately happen, as he praised Somaliland as ambitious, but urged that they need to likewise be patient, as changes don’t happen overnight.
In a response to the ongoing talks between Somaliland and Somalia, he added, “We are only mediators in the talks and decision reached between the two negotiating teams will be respected.”
Currently the bulk of Turkey funded programs in the Horn region is concentrated in the neighbouring war torn Somalia.
Somaliland political parties have repeatedly accused Turkey of being partial when it comes to the humanitarian and development assistances that it provides to Somalia. Similarly both government and opposition parties questioned Turkey’s position of neutrality in the mediation talks between Somaliland and Somalia which Turkey government has been mediating and hosting since 2013.
Back to April, 2016, it was for the Somaliland Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Dr. Sa’ad Ali Shire who questioned the neutrality of Turkey and stated, “Though Turkey didn’t officially stated that they want to see one united Somalia government, and not two governments (Somaliland and Somalia), but I have heard from Turkish diplomats that they (Turkish Government) want to see one united Somalia and not two Somali countries which are Somaliland and Somalia.”
Mediation talks be Somaliland and Somalia have initially been started in 2012 when both countries attended in a conference held for Somalia factions in London where many international countries were present at the talks. The final communiqué provisions recommended the start of holding negotiation talks for Somalia and Somaliland countries. In the beginning of 2013, Turkey government suggested to host and facilitate for the dialogue between the two parties (Somaliland and Somalia).