Saturday, 25 February 2012

The young Turkish architect

I attended an event at Chatham House yesterday where the Somali Prime Minister, Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, was giving a speech about the London Conference and the future of Somalia. During the question and answer session afterwards, hands shot up all over the room as Somalis and non-Somalis asked about the political transition, humanitarian issues and the future shape of Somalia.

One young man in a smart suit waited patiently, his hand held high in the air. When he was eventually called to ask his question, he waved a letter in the air. He explained that he was a Turkish architect living in the UK but born in Mogadishu. He told the Prime Minister he wanted to be involved in designing buildings the Turkish are constructing in Mogadishu, especially the airport, saying "the planes used to fly over my head when I was a young boy growing up in the city so I know what kind of airport you should have". He was basically asking for a job.

After the event, people rushed forward to greet the Prime Minister. The young Turkish man was among them. I saw him hand the letter to the Prime Minister. The letter asking for a job in Mogadishu.

I don't know how many other non-NGO, non-security industry people are asking for jobs in Mogadishu. This man was offering something tangible, positive and brave. I wonder if he'll get the job.


  1. Just wondering what your thoughts were regarding Turkey's motives in playing such a prominent role lately in Somalia? I've heard all sorts, including competing against Iran's own humanitarian and political interventions in the country, any thoughts?

  2. Dear Ms. Mary Harper,
    I'm currently researching about the turkey's aid to somalia for my undergraduate thesis, and my concern is similar with dhegdheer, what are the motives or factors that drive turkey to play a significant role in somalia? Starting from humanitarian relief to development aid. I hope we can share and discuss together through email, mine:
    thank you :)