The Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) aid organization is preparing to establish a foundation that aims to introduce and represent Turkish culture in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, under the auspices of the Turkish presidency.
Humanitarian and development assistance from Turkey to famine and conflict-hit Somalia has been ongoing. Last week, President Abdullah Gül pledged to promote a Turkish foundation to be established in Somalia, in a meeting with Kızılay President Ahmet Lütfi Akar. Within the scope of the project, a mosque and a library will be built.
On March 7, Akar told Gül about the plan to establish a Turkish foundation in Somalia and asked for his support for the project. Gül agreed, and the project will be established under the auspices of the Turkish presidency. Somali authorities have allocated five hectares of land to Kızılay for the foundation premises. A nursing and health vocational school will be established on the same piece of land as the foundation.
Speaking to Today's Zaman on Saturday, Akar expressed his gratitude to Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for their support of Kızılay's aid initiatives in Somalia. “The Turkish presidency's support [for the foundation] reflects how much importance Turkey has put on Somalia,” Akar asserted.
Kızılay is the initiator of many aid projects in the country. A Turkish tent city, which the organization launched in December 2011, provides shelter for almost 10,000 Somalis in Mogadishu. A mobile bakery set up at the tent city produces 16,000 loaves of bread a day, and the charity also cooks and distributes hot meals to 10,000 people every day.