Somalia, Türkiye mulling partnership to explore Mogadishu's hydrocarbon prospects
In exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency, Somali president shares thoughts on relations between two states, Mogadishu's fight against terrorism
Somalia and Türkiye are mulling partnership opportunities to work together to explore Mogadishu's hydrocarbon potential, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said.
In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency during his two-day visit to Türkiye on the invitation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mohamud shared his thoughts on Türkiye's support for Mogadishu's fight against terrorism, the partnership with Türkiye in hydrocarbon resources, and Somalia's strategy in the fight against the Al-Shabaab terrorist group.
Speaking on the partnership between Somalia and Türkiye to explore hydrocarbon resources in Somalia, Mohamud said: "Türkiye is a very advanced country in terms of technology, know-how, and technical expertise. We trust the Turkish government, we trust Turkish companies as a partner."
"There are certain processes and discussions going on about how we can work together on this hydrocarbon issue between the governments of Somalia and Türkiye," Mohamud noted.
"So, we started already discussing the government-to-government partnership in hydrocarbon. We are at the initial stage but we are working together," he added.
Touching upon Somalia's struggle with the lack of data on its hydrocarbon resources, he said when he was elected president for the first time in 2012, there was no data available at all on hydrocarbon resources.
"We started in 2015 to make to re-establish a data system. Today there is very good data about Somalia's hydrocarbon potential. That data is not enough," he said.
"Somalia has got the largest coastline in Africa. All is not surveyed. Partially it has been surveyed and because of Al-Shabaab, the assessment on the ground is very limited. But at least it has enough data to go."
The country is establishing the relevant entities for the exploitation of these resources, he underlined.
Preventing spill-over of al-Shabab violence
Touching on the fight against the terrorist organization Al-Shabab, Mahmud said they had implemented some policies in the past in the fight against terrorism and now they have learned a lesson from them.
Thanks to the "containment policy" they implemented, they prevented the terrorist organization from "spilling over to neighboring countries, the continent, and the whole world."
Somalia has contained Al-Shabaab in the country with this policy, he said, adding, "if al-Shabab was not stopped in the region, maybe it would be more dangerous."
Meanwhile, the second policy is degrading Al-Shabab, he said: "We reduce the capability of al-Shabaab so that they cannot organize. But it's not enough again for us."
Pointing out that all these two policies are military, Mohamud underlined that it is necessary to fight against al-Shabaab at different levels.
Somalia's 'paradigm shift' in struggle against al-Shabaab
Meanwhile, Somalia's ultimate goal was to eliminate terror, he said, the military approach is very important and fundamental. "But it's not enough by itself," he underlined.
"We developed a new policy which is a paradigm shift that we want to al-Shabaab to be confronted on three different fronts," he said.
He said Mogadishu continued putting a lot of pressure militarily, but also ideologically. "They are propagating the wrong version of Islam. The third is economic because Al-Shabaab is financing themselves from inside, and collecting taxes," he said.
Militarily, Türkiye has been supporting Somalia by providing training, equipment, intelligence, surveillance service, and so on, he said.
In their economic struggle against Al-Shabaab, he said Türkiye, the US, UK, and EU can provide support for Somalia. "So that Somalia will be able to eliminate the terror."
Türkiye's support in fight against terrorism
"Somalia went into a new era. Although it has been delayed but at least we have elections completed in a peaceful manner," he said.
"Somalia's post-election power transition is always peaceful. It shows Somalia's state institutions or democracy are maturing."
The serious challenge Somalia is facing is the terrorists, Mohamud underlined, saying the country has been fighting against terrorism for the last 15 years.
Highlighting the importance of Türkiye's support for Somalia in the fight against terrorism, he said: "While overcoming the post-conflict challenges, fragility, and economic hardship, the terrorist makes it more complex for Somalia to recover. And this is an area where we identify who is a real friend and real brother of Somalia or not. We are very much grateful for the world in general. They supported us, but that support was not equal in all aspects. So that's where mainly Turkey is unique."
Also, emphasizing the significance of political stability, he said security is even more important. Somalia is developing rapidly in this regard.