Somali President's Son Causes Fatal Accident in Turkey and Damages Relations between the Two Countries

The video has made the rounds on Turkish social networks since its publication on December 8 by the mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, and triggered a diplomatic-judicial soap opera between Turkey and Somalia

Somali President's Son Causes Fatal Accident in Turkey and Damages Relations between the Two Countries

The video has made the rounds on Turkish social networks since its publication on December 8 by the mayor of Istanbul, Ekrem Imamoglu, and triggered a diplomatic-judicial soap opera between Turkey and Somalia. In the images dated November 30, those from a surveillance camera installed above a highway near the Turkish economic capital, we suddenly see a sedan violently collide with a scooter courier on the hard shoulder emergency. Seriously injured, the man on the two-wheeler, Yunus Emre Gocer, 38, succumbed to his injuries six days later.

Quickly arriving at the scene, the police noted that the car had a diplomatic plate in the colors of Somalia. They arrest the driver, who turns out to be a VIP: the son of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud. Despite the severity of the accident, the 40-year-old was quickly released and took a plane home to Dubai.

“An escape”, according to certain Turkish personalities, who are offended by the benevolence from which Mohamed Hassan Cheikh has benefited. “Unfortunately, the mentality that allowed this escape proves that it is incapable of defending the rights of its own citizens in their own country,” accuses the mayor of Istanbul, a member of the opposition CHP party, on social networks. . The hasty departure of the Somali president's son is seen as a free pass. Especially since Mohamed Hassan Cheikh theoretically did not have the right to drive this type of vehicle because he is not part of the embassy staff. Justice got involved: an international arrest warrant for “involuntary manslaughter” and a travel ban were issued against the president’s son on December 8.

This thorny issue embarrasses both countries. Turkey has invested in Somalia for a decade, becoming its leading trading partner. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is implementing very dynamic activism, combining economic partnership and military support for Mogadishu – the Somali special forces are trained by the Turks –, considering Somalia as a gateway to the rest of Africa. He opened the largest Turkish embassy and military base abroad there.

“Bad publicity”

The Somali president had to comply with a strange communications exercise on the sidelines of a highly symbolic trip to New York, to the United Nations, where the lifting of the arms embargo in Somalia was voted on. " It was an accident. He didn't run away. He stayed there for several days and called a lawyer. I talk to him, I tell him that it would now be better to go back but he will make the final decision. Turkey is a friendly country, we respect its laws,” Hassan Cheikh Mohamoud explained on December 14 to put out the fire.