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Turkey’s new humanitarian approach in Somalia

Pinar Tank, 20 December 2013

Under the Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkey has become a prominent humanitarian power, contributing more than $1 billion in aid in 2012. This makes it the fourth-largest government donor. The top three countries receiving Turkish assistance are Syria, Pakistan and Somalia. This policy brief examines Turkey’s engagement with Somalia, a country with which Turkey has not had long-standing foreign relations such as with Pakistan, or a border refugee crisis, as it is presently experiencing with Syria. What is the motivation for Turkey’s involvement in Somalia? How does Turkey engage with the humanitarian project differently from traditional donors and what are some of the challenges it faces in so doing?

The policy brief argues that Turkey’s interest in Africa is part of the AKP’s multidimensional foreign policy agenda and its efforts to develop Turkey’s identity as a global peace mediator. However, the author also argues that focusing only on state interests risks undervaluing the importance of the normative agenda in Turkey’s humanitarian outreach to Somalia.

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