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Turkey cuts off direct budget support to Somalia


Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Author: Randam)

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (Author: Randam)

Turkey  has cut its direct budget support to Somalia at the end of 2013, arguing the support agreement was only for last year and has expired, according to Reuters. Turkey was formerly Somalia’s largest donor and its financial aid was a major source of funding for a Somali government trying to rebuild the country after two decades of conflicts.

Western governments have pledged billions to Somali government, but not as direct budget support. The government of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud irritated many Western donors over the scandal triggered by the resignation of central bank governor Yussur Abrar, who said she quit after only seven weeks in the job due to pressure on her to sign suspicious deals.

Somali government was backed by the Western countries when it came to power in September 2012, but has become a source of grumbling for Somalis, as changes come in a very slow pace. The government is also a target of a confidential U.N. monitors’ report, acquired by Reuters, that warns of “systematic abuses” by Somalia’s government, which has allowed the diversion of weapons that Somali authorities purchased after the U.N. Security Council eased an arms embargo on Mogadishu last year.

“The Monitoring Group has identified a number of issues and concerns over current management of weapons and ammunition stockpiles by the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS), which point to high-level and systematic abuses in weapons, and ammunition management and distribution,” the report said, according to Reuters.

The exact figures on the exact amount of cash Turkey donated to Somalia in 2013 are not clear, however Somalia’s former central bank chief, Abdusalam Omer, said during his seven-month tenure the support amounted to $4.5 million per month, paid in cash to the central bank.

Turkey has offered a substantial humanitarian aid to Somalia during the 2011 famine becoming the largest non-OECD donor in Somalia. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan pledged $49 million to Somalia that year and in 2012, Turkey spent $70 million on full scholarships to over 1,200 Somali students to study in Turkish universities. Additionally, private Turkish citizens donated $365 million.

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