By Mohamed Dubo
Friendly. This is the first feeling one gets upon entering any Turkish office in Mogadishu. A taut but easy smile, an outstretched arm, and a quick request of whether one would like to try Turkish tea. During the brief engagement in that particular office, a conversation between two can easily turn into a conversation between five and a simple conversational point can be elaborately spread out. When the session of engagement ends; handshakes and a parting gift: will you take this box of Turkish sweets?
It is the Turkish way. This friendliness. The explorative expansion of talks and ideas. The openness to risk. But most of all, the promise of ‘let’s do this again.’
The engagement between Turkey and Somalia started earlier than 2011. Yet the third issue of The Somalia Investor Magazine (this issue) will attempt to parse the relationship between the two countries from 2011 onwards and into the future. Not because of a disregard for the rich historical engagements, but because the future of Somalia and its engagement with the larger world took a turn for the best in 2011 after Turkey’s renewed interest in Somalia; a positive chain of events precipitated by the 2011 now Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Mogadishu.
The presence of Turkey in Somalia is more commercial than it is political. However; neither of the two can exist independently. This calls for Mogadishu and Ankara to straddle the delicate line between politics and profiteering, humanitarian acts and commercial interests, cultural influence and a brotherly association; from the looks of things, this exercise is panning out well.
Leaf through the pages to find out what Ankara thinks of its engagement with Mogadishu, read about the opportunities of trade exchanges between Istanbul investors and the business community in Mogadishu, find out from our big interview with the Turkish ambassador to Somalia-Olgan Bekar, why Turkey succeeds with an approach that they have christened ‘Humanitarian Diplomacy’. To cap this all up is our usual regular incisive coverage of the business community and business environment in Mogadishu where the aviation industry is seeing an exponential growth as the finance sector faces turbulent and trying times.