Turkish president criticises EU over cutting Somalia funding

President Museveni (right) receives Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan (left) at State House, Entebbe last month. Photo by Stephen Wandera

Entebbe- The visiting Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday warned that the decision by the European Union (EU) to cut funding for African Union troops in Somalia was a mistake.

Last month, the UPDF said it would review its operations in Somalia after EU which has been paying the soldiers’ allowances announced it would cut the funding by 20 per cent.
“Leaving Somalia to fight terrorism on its own is a big mistake. However, despite cutting the funds, we will help Somalia,” Mr Erdogan said yesterday at State House, Entebbe.

The Turkish government has invested $100m in the rebuilding and reconstruction of Somalia after two decades of civil war.
President Erdogan was speaking after holding bilateral talks with his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni who said Africans “have always” solved their problems even without help from people outside the continent.

“My concern in Somalia is not whether the EU funds this or that. We have solved many African problems without the outside world. We defeated Idi Amin. Where was European Union? Where was the UN?” Mr Museveni asked. “My concern is for the people in Somalia to develop an ideology that unites them with the help of countries like Turkey and Uganda. That’s what I told the Somali president when he was here recently,” he added.

Mr Erdogan also criticised the United Nations on the composition of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council [UNSC].

“The world is bigger than the five. It was formed after the World War but things have changed. This is an error that is simply unacceptable,” he said, adding: “Among the five, none is from Africa and none is Muslim. With such imbalances, justice cannot prevail and we cannot accept that,” he said.

Mr Museveni said Uganda’s position on international relations is compatible with Turkey’s. The five permanent members of the UNSC are; United States, France, United Kingdom, China and Russia.

After the bilateral talks, the two governments signed three agreements on tourism, removing Turkish visa requirement for Ugandans with diplomatic passports and Defence Industry Cooperation. They also signed three Memoranda of Understanding on military cooperation, energy and higher education.

According to a joint communique read by Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa after the talks, a Turkish firm ASB would invest $600m in an industrial park to be opened in Kaweweta, Nakaseke. The park will carry out agro processing, manufacturing and energy development.