Turkey calls for dialogue in Somalia over electoral stalemate

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - Turkey, one of the major stakeholders in Somalia, has raised a host of concerns regarding the current electoral impasse, arguing that the country could erode some of the gains made so far should the parties fail to reach an agreement over the pre-election crisis.

For the last five months, stakeholders in Somalia have failed to strike an agreement for elections to take place, something which has worried a number of international partners, who have been investing in the Horn of Africa nation for a couple of years, throughout the civil war period.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey said: " We are concerned about the recent negative developments arising from the dispute over the election process in Somalia." This was the first major statement over the current crisis from Turkey, a major partner of Somalia.

Ankara said stakeholders including the federal government and federal states should have an urgent meeting and solve the stalemate. The dialogue, Turkey said, should be constructed so that no party feels shortchanged or disregarded in the entire process.

"It is important that all parties act with common sense by avoiding steps that may lead to violence, and that the Federal Government and Federal Member States' Leaders come together and try to resolve disputes with an inclusive and constructive dialogue on the basis of the agreement reached on 17 September 2020," read the statement.

"We believe that the friendly and brotherly people of Somalia have the will and political maturity to determine their own future. In this context, we hope that a consensus will be reached on the election process, on the basis of mutual understanding without further delay."

Rashid Abdi, an analyst on the Horn of Africa political and security matters, however, believes that Turkey should take the blame for the current political duels in Somalia. He says Turkey has trained and equipped a number of security officers who are being used to unleash against innocent civilians.

"I defended Turkey in Somalia for many years, saw how much it was loved, remarkable things it has done. Now I see a dark side. Turkey trained, equipped the special units Farmajo using to project coercive hard power, consolidate dictatorship. Ankara cannot absolve itself of blame," he notes.

On Sunday, the Somali government asked UAE to apologize for referring to Farmaajo's administration as "interim govt" besides claiming Mogadishu used excessive force against demonstrators. Osman Dubbe, the information minister, said the government is waiting for an apology.

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