Turkey – President Tayyip Erdogan has won another term in office in what is being described as a historic Turkish election.
Turkey is a divided society. On the one hand, there is a religious revolution taking place that is allowing swathes of the country to reconnect with their Islamic identity. Whereas on the other hand, there is a staunchly secular movement, who firmly believe in a separation of religion and state. These were the two options, and possible outcomes of the Turkish elections.
Erdogan’s family are from the Rize Province of Eastern Turkey, a traditional and religiously conservative region. Erdogan, who himself is a practicing Muslim, was able to harness the energy of an emerging ‘conservative-Muslim middle-class’ in Turkey during his rise to power. By extension, fundamental Islamic principles such as helping the needy and giving charity have been a key symbol of his legacy.
Propelling Turkey to the forefront of global charity donators.
In the awful drought that gripped Somalia in 2011, when the country was staring death in the face, Tayyip Erdogan had just consolidated his power 6000km away. He chose to act.
Tragically, over 250,000 Somalis died in the 2011 drought. However, it is thought that the number could have been closer to 2.5 million had the international community not acted, and no other nation acted as gracefully as Erdogan’s Turkey.
In doing so, Turkey found itself a tender place in the hearts of Somalis across the world.
Erdogan chose to visit Somalia’s presidential palace and refugee camps during the horrific drought, amidst a smoke of extremist attacks and insecurity. What was all the more inspiring was that he chose to visit with his family. Openly displaying to the world his loyalty and belief in the Somali people. Subsequently, opening the floodgates of Turkish aid and saving countless lives.
As a point of reflection, in today’s somewhat safer Somalia, many visiting dignitaries hold their meetings in Somali airports so as to ensure a quick departure if need be.
Today, the Turkish people and in particular Erdogan supporters, have sent over $1 billion USD in unconditional aid. Transforming the lives of many millions of Somalis. Turkey’s largest foreign embassy is in Somalia, the best and most specialized hospitals in Somalia are Turkish built and run, Turkish troops are based in Somalia training and supporting the national army. We could keep going on and on about how much Turkey, under the leadership of Tayyip Erdogan, has done for the Somali people.
Through the efforts of Turkey’s president, we realise that there is still a sense of Islamic cooperation and leadership. As Somalis we are rejoiced that Tayyip Erdogan has won another term, because it is his and his supporter’s, core Islamic values, that have supported Somalia time and time again.
If any state leader wants a masterclass in how to win the hearts of a foreign nation, they need not look further than Tayyip Erdogan’s graceful dealings with Somalia.
No tribal links, or political point scoring, nor financial incentives encouraged this leader to support our weak and fledgling nation, he simply knew that he could help and so he chose to.
Congratulations Tayyip Erdogan, may God be with you. – From the Somali people.