Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Somalia's friend in the sky

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The visit to Mogadishu by Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in January heralded welcome news for Somalia’s battered but resilient aviation sector.

After landing in the capital to inaugurate the newly-constructed terminal at Aden Adde International Airport, President Erdogan announced that Turkish Airlines will boost its Istanbul-Djibouti-Mogadishu service from four-times weekly to daily. That crucial route serves as a lifeline for members of the diaspora, enabling connecting flights to their adoptive countries in Europe and North America.

But while Turkey’s engagement with Somalia has to date focussed on humanitarian assistance – President Erdogan first visited Mogadishu in August 2011, at the height of the East Africa drought – the decision to lift flight frequencies was in no way a charitable gesture...