Puntland and Galmudug say Turkey conference is 'politically motivated'
May 27, 2012 - 10:54:35 AM
ISTANBUL, Turkey May 27 2012 (Garowe Online) - Puntland and Galmudug have
withdrew from the upcoming Istanbul conference at the end of the month
sighting that it is not a Somali-owned process, Garowe Online reports.
Both Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole and Galmudug President
Mohamed Ahmed Alim signed a joint press statement on Sunday cancelling their
participation to the Istanbul conference on May 31 saying that the
conference is "politically motivated".
In the joint press statement both governments said that after much
consideration they realize that that the "Turkish role in Somalia objects to
consulting the Somali people". According to the statement the Turkish role
is also misbalanced and not transparent enough.
The statement also says that the Turkish government sidestepped regional
governments and institutions and invited civil society groups from Somalia
to a conference in the Turkish capital.
According to the statement the purpose of the conference was "ambiguous",
and leaders from the TFG and regional states did not know the intentions of
the conference, that will be attended by UN Secretary General Ban ki Moon
and officials from the African Union.
A centralized Somalia
Government officials who spoke to Garowe Online said that the actions of the
Turkish government have given the impression that Turkey is in favor of a
centralized Somalia. This has upset officials who thought Turkey was
committed to the current roadmap in Somalia.
Last month Turkey's Foreign Ministry's spokesman Selcuk Unal said that the
Turkish government had a four step approach for Somalia that included
assisting the UN backed Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia to
reach a democratic agreement.
Earlier this week, signatories of the previous agreements, with the
international community watching closely wrapped up a meeting in Addis Ababa
where issues regarding the Roadmap and the constitution were deliberated
over. After amendments to the Somalia draft constitution were made and
mandates were clarified, an agreement was signed.
In Sunday's press statement Puntland and Galmudug leaders said that the
Istanbul meeting defied all previous agreements signed by leaders from the
TFG, Puntland, Galmudug and Ahlu Sunnah. According to the officials the
upcoming meeting tried to limit authority of regional governments and was
Funding to Somalia?
Over the past year Turkey's government has been trying to play a greater
role in Somalia. It established an embassy in Somalia and regular flights to
the war-torn capital Mogadishu.
Funding has increased significantly to Somalia with the Turkish government
giving close to 400 million dollars in assistance to Somalia over the past
year. The Turkish government also promised dozens of development projects
for Somalia including hospitals, schools, scholarships, and infrastructure.
However officials in Galmudug and Puntland say that tangible development
projects from Turkey have not reached their constituents. Puntland officials
say that Turkish funds are being deposited into the central government based
in Mogadishu and regions across Somalia have seen little to nothing.
Turkey has visited Puntland and Galmudug and has promised Puntland
developmental projects targeting infrastructure and promised to reconstruct
roads but according to officials, nothing has transpired.
Compromise with Al Shabaab
Last April, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that his
government has not given up on pushing for talks between Al Shabaab and the
TFG. The Minister said that he felt that a peaceful resolution could be
reached and that Turkey could play a role in arbitrating that agreement.
"Despite our advantage and special relation with Somalis of all stripes,
Turkey would play a role in mediating conflicting parties in Somalia," said
Minister Ahmet last April to Turkish radio station.
Even after Al Shabaab officially joined the terror network of Al Qaeda,
Turkey has pushed for a peaceful resolution. The proposal the Turkish
government has been driving conflicts with the international community's
policy of no dialogue with terrorist organizations.
Leaders have urged Al Shabaab to put down their weapons and turn themselves
into government authorities, but neither the TFG nor regional governments
have proposed talks with the terror group.
Turkey denies any ulterior motives in Somalia and maintains that
facilitating peace to the war ravaged country is its number one foreign
Minister Ahmet reiterated on Sunday at the Somali civil meeting in Istanbul,
that Turkey's policy in Somalia is to promote stability both economically
and politically. But Puntland and Galmudug governments say that that policy
contrasts with what the conference in Istanbul proposes.
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Received on Sun May 27 2012 - 16:38:40 EDT