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Remarks by H.E. Ertuğrul Apakan, Permanent Representative Of Turkey to The United Nations, at The Turkish-Somali Friendship Dinner, 27.04.2012

Your Excellency Permanent Representative of Somalia, Ambassador Ahmed Elmi Duale
Your Excellency, Ambassador of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Hilmi Akil,
Distinguished Guests,

I would like to welcome you all, and thank you for your participation in this very meaningful event, organized by the Federation of Turkish-American Associations.

This event is meaningful and timely, in the sense that it comes at a time when Turkey and Somalia, building on the already-existing close historical and cultural ties, have been demonstrating what true friendship and brotherhood are. Our genuine brotherhood is not between states, but also between Turkish and Somali people, between our business communities, between our cultures and, like this gathering, between Turkish and Somali communities living abroad.

Dear Guests,

Turkey has been closely working with its Somali brothers and sisters, as well as other friendly countries, to support them in their efforts to overcome the difficulties and uncertainty it has been going through. We are happy to see that we are reaping the benefits of these efforts and this support.

To help Somalia return back to its days of peace and stability, Turkey has accelerated its efforts in recent years. We organized the First İstanbul Conference on Somalia in May 2010. Last August, we held an emergency meeting of the OIC in İstanbul to speed up international community’s efforts in humanitarian assistance.

Our Government, particularly our Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, are personally committed to raise international community’s awareness as well as to maximize Turkey’s assistance to Somalia. In that respect, he visited Somalia last August. In the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly last September, he devoted a great deal of his speech to Somalia. Following his historic visit to Somalia, more than 300 million dollars were donated by the Turkish people for Somalia in less than 4 months.

Furthermore, we opened our Embassy in Mogadishu last November. We started undertaking development projects, such as construction of hospitals, construction of camps for internally-displaced people, collection of garbage in Mogadishu, construction of the airport road in Mogadishu, to name just a few.

Also, we will establish regional development offices in Somalia. Turkish Airlines started its flights to Mogadishu last March. There are now two flights every week between İstanbul and Mogadishu.

To support anti-piracy efforts, Turkey contributes frigates to the operations in the Indian Ocean.

On May 31 and June 1, we are going to organize Second İstanbul Conference on Somalia. This Conference will address all issues related to Somalia with a visionary approach. Our aim in this Conference is to assist and support Somalia to achieve peace and stability as well as to jointly decide what should be done to develop the state institutions, to improve economic activity and to revitalize the business environment of the country.

Distinguished Guests,

We are firmly convinced that the future of Somalia can and must be determined by the Somalis, and it is only the Somalis who can find a genuine solution to their problems. The international community’s task is to facilitate and support the process. Therefore, Turkey and Turkish people stand ready to assist Somalia and Somali people. Likewise, Somali people must be supportive of all efforts to genuine reconciliation, peace and stability.

Dear Guests,

Before concluding my remarks, I would like to say a few words to the representatives of the Somali community.

Your support, your views and your ideas are very important. Therefore, I especially would like to stress that we will be more than happy to receive your opinions and contributions for the improvement of Turkish-Somali relations as well as for Turkey’s support to Somalia.

I thank you for your attention.