Deconstructing Turkey's Efforts in Somalia

Bildhaan, Vol. 16

26 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2016

Date Written: November 15, 2016


The Republic of Turkey's diplomatic and development efforts in Somalia are impressive by any standard and Turkey’s involvement in Somalia is assessed to be mutually constitutive for both Turkey and Somalis in positions of leadership, mainly in Mogadishu. However, the reasoning and rationale behind Turkey’s initial foreign policy foray into Somalia in 2011 remain largely ill-defined and under-explored. This article attempts to deconstruct the causes and conditions that led to Turkey's involvement in Somalia and gauge Turkey's subsequent actions. It also looks at the various Somali reactions and actions in relation to Turkey as well as the long-term prospects for both Turkey and Somalia. The research demonstrates the largely positive actions of Turkey in Somalia were primarily motivated by the desire for international recognition as an emerging power as well as humanitarian concerns. In addition, Turkish money and aid donations delivered directly and unilaterally to key Somali stakeholders assisted Turkey's foray and allowed it the access and influence it required to fulfill its goals. Finally, the unilateral and highly-coordinated nature of Turkey's involvement, largely eschewing coordination with other international and regional actors already operating in Somalia, has arguably been crucial to Turkey's nimble successes.

Keywords: comparative politics, Turkey and Somalia, international relations, Horn of Africa, security, emerging power diplomacy, Turkey in Africa, Turkish foreign policy, Mogadishu, Turkey, Somalia, corruption, failed state, Somalia

JEL Classification: F5, P16, D72

Suggested Citation

Cannon, Brendon J., Deconstructing Turkey's Efforts in Somalia (November 15, 2016). Bildhaan, Vol. 16, Available at SSRN:

Brendon J. Cannon (Contact Author)

Khalifa University ( email )

Institute of International and Civil Security
PO Box 127788
Abu Dhabi, 00000
United Arab Emirates

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