Turkey pays off part of Somalia’s IMF debt, but there may be a reason behind this generosity

It probably wouldn’t mean much, if the President of the International Court of Justice in the Hague wasn’t the Somali Judge Abdulqawi A. Yusuf

Turkey has paid off an estimated $2.4 million in debts owed by Somalia to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), after a presidential decree.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s decision to assist the economy of the Horn of Africa country will see Turkey dip into its cash reserves, according to the Official Gazette.

As a result Somalia’s debt will be reduced from $5.2 billion at the end of 2018 to $3.7 billion.

Turkey is among 116 countries that support contribution to debt relief as part of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPC), a system established by the World Bank and IMF to help alleviate the debt burden from the world’s poorest countries.

Turkey has also established firm alliance with Somalia over the years and has invested heavily into the African country. Earlier this year, Somalia reportedly invited ally Turkey to explore oil in its seas, Turkish President Erdogan said in January, according to broadcaster NTV.

Turkey also has a significant presence in Somalia and operates one of a number of foreign military training operations in the Horn of Africa nation long destabilized by conflict.

Somalia’s Justice Minister Abdul Qadir Muhammad Nur expressed his gratitude to Turkey for the assistance.

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But this could mean something for the Greek-Turkish relations as well

It shouldn’t go unnoticed that it was the Minister of Justice that publicly thanked the Turkish President Erdogan for his support rather than the Somali Finance Minister, the Prime Minister or even the President.

And it probably wouldn’t mean much, if it wasn’t for one important detail: the President of the International Court of Justice in the Hague is the Somali Judge Abdulqawi A. Yusuf and will be in office until 2027.

Given the fact that Greece is trying to make Turkey agree to go to The Hague for the delimitation of their maritime zones, the Turkish gesture to Somalia, in this stressful time for the Turkish economy, seems like a well-thought of move.

Sources: The New Arab, Hurriyet