MOGADISHU Barely 12 hours after a failed coup in Turkey, Somalia’s cabinet met in Mogadishu to consider a request from Ankara to shut down two schools and a hospital linked to Fethullah Gulen, the Muslim cleric Turkey blames for the attempted putsch.
Such is Turkey’s sway in the Horn of Africa nation, where it has spearheaded international reconstruction efforts after decades of war and instability, it was not a difficult decision.
Teachers and pupils – almost all of them Somali – at the two huge boarding schools run by Gulen’s Nile Academy educational foundation were given seven days to pack their bags and, if they were foreign, leave the country.
“Considering the request of our brother country Turkey, the cabinet ministers have agreed upon the following points – to stop the services provided by Nile Academy including schools, hospitals, etc,” a July 16 government statement said.
A week later the order had been carried out to the letter.
Turkey’s ties with Somalia are well established. President Tayyip Erdogan became the first non-African leader to visit Somalia in nearly 20 years when he travelled there in 2011 as Turkey’s prime minister. Turkey was a major contributor to the humanitarian aid effort during the 2011 famine and Ankara continues