Turkey in Somalia: Challenging North/Western interventionism?

Chuck Thiessen, Alpaslan Ozerdem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
127 Downloads (Pure)


Turkey’s humanitarian and development intervention in Somalia is unusually illuminating as a case study to investigate the relations between emerging and conventional interveners in conflict zones since, in this case, Turkey’s intervention carries adequate impetus to resist assimilation with conventional North/Western counterparts. Our starting point is the observation that Turkish and conventional humanitarian and development interveners have struggled to coordinate or cooperate in Somalia. This article investigates what this uncooperative and uncoordinated organisational behaviour means, and we root our investigation in 21 face-to-face interviews with officials working inside the Turkish and conventional intervention in Mogadishu and Nairobi to inquire about how they understand and theorise this discordant behaviour. We use a parsimonious analytical framework of trustworthiness that questions the ‘ability’ and ‘integrity’ of counterpart organisations to explore the intentions behind organisational behaviours. Our analysis of interview narratives evidences challenges to conventional methods of intervention by Turkish organisations and the protection of the same by North/Western organisations. Our concluding discussion interprets these findings in relation to consequences for the status quo hierarchy of global governance and its promotion of liberal intervention norms, and for the utilisation of securitised and remote-control intervention methodologies in conflict zones such as Somalia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1976-1995
Number of pages20
JournalThird World Quarterly
Issue number11
Early online date25 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Third World Quarterly, on 25.05/2019, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/01436597.2019.1619074

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Allan & Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust


  • Turkey
  • Somalia
  • international intervention
  • cooperation
  • trust
  • rising powers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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