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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Erdogan: The hero of Somalia

(Medeshi)- By Abukar Arman - There was never any doubt that Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would receive a hero's welcome in Somalia. On Thursday, he vowed to go ahead with the trip despite a bomb attack at a hotel in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, on the eve of his planned visit. Later his office announced he would delay it by a couple of days in order to attend the funeral of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

Still, Erdogan's resolve to visit the Horn of Africa nation so soon after the deadly attack has only heightened his popularity. He landed at Mogadishu airport on Sunday morning and was greeted warmly by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
But how does someone currently facing a barrage of allegations - on account of corruption, delusions of grandeur, dictatorial tendencies, and polarising rhetoric - by both Turkish and western media, earn such an enviable stature in Somalia?
The fact is, Erdogan has done for Somalia what no other world leader has done in decades.
In August 2011, when Erdogan was still prime minister, he ignored the prevalent narrative of Mogadishu as a no-go zone and flew in with his family, senior cabinet members, and representatives from non-governmental organisations and the business sector.
His visit was the first by a non-African leader to the famine-hit Somali capital in two decades and came during the holy month of Ramadan to stress that Ankara was not going to abandon "their Muslim brothers and sisters".
Read more at Al Jazeera