Erdogan calls for more security, aid for famine-stricken Somalia

Published: October 11, 2011

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on world nations to step up efforts to increase the security in strife-torn country to secure the safe flow of aid to the famine-hit Somalia.
Erdoğan, who is a leading public figure that has spearheaded a sustained effort to raise awareness over famine in the African country in the past few months, said in his article published by the Foreign Policy magazine on Monday that Somalia’s tragedy tests the notion of civilization and “our modern values.”
He said it is not realistic to consider Somalia’s plight as caused solely by a severe natural disaster and slammed the international community for leaving Somalia to its own fate.
Erdoğan said twenty years of political and social instability, lawlessness, and chaos have added enormously to the problems in Somalia and that the horrifying truck bombing of the Transitional Federal Government’s ministerial complex on Oct. 4 is just the latest evidence of this.
“The international community must not respond to this act of terrorism by retreating from Somalia, but by redoubling its efforts to bring aid to its people,” Erdoğan requested.
Somalia has been mired in violence since 1991, plunging the country into a chaos that has allowed Islamic extremists and pirates to flourish. The UNHCR estimates that a quarter of Somalia’s 7.5 million people are now either internally displaced or living outside the country as refugees.
The Horn of Africa nation also has been suffering from its worst famine in 60 years: The US says 29,000 children have died since the famine began, and the UN says 750,000 more are at risk of starving to death in the next few months.
Al-Shabab fighters have compounded the suffering by preventing aid agencies from helping famine victims in areas under militant control in southern Somalia. They’re also vowing to increase their terror attacks “day by day” in an effort to defeat the weak, UN-backed Somali government.
He said nobody with common sense and conscience can remain indifferent to such a drama, wherever on Earth it may be and whichever people have to bear it.
“Our urgent intervention as responsible members of the international community,” Erdoğan said, “can contribute to the alleviation of the Somali people’s distress.”
He recalled Turkey’s efforts to rush aid to the African country, underlining that in the last month alone, approximately $280 million worth of donations for Somalia were collected in Turkey.
“The Turkish people’s generosity has served as an example to other donor countries as well as the international community, offering hope for the resolution of the crisis in Somalia,” he stressed.
Erdoğan also mentioned his historic visit to Somalia, along with a number of Turkish ministers, some members of parliament, bureaucrats, business people, artists, and families “to tell the people of Somalia that they are not alone.”
Source: Todays ZAMAN

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