Turkish expert warns of poverty, drought in war-torn Mali

Turkish expert warns of poverty, drought in war-torn Mali

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Turkish expert warns of poverty, drought in war-torn Mali

French soldiers patrol in the recently liberated town of Diabaly, Mali, 23 January 2013. French forces continue their advance northwards in Mali with over 2,000 troops assisting Malian forces in the fight against Islamic militants linked to al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. EPA/NIC BOTHMA

Military intervention in Mali has unraveled the medical and social structures in the country, and could cause greater tragedies of poverty to hit the country with the expected drought in the summer months, an expert has said.

Mali is already one of the countries for which the United Nations has issued an emergency call, and the situation is bound to get worse if the military conflict continues in the summer, when the country will most likely experience a severe drought, according to Wise Men Center for Strategic Studies’ (BİLGESAM) Africa expert Hasan Öztürk said.

The dysfunctional political environment has left the scene to regional tribes that have been acting as the main provider of people’s needs, he added. The conflict could also disrupt set balances in the country, and cause even further tension between ethnic groups.

The debate around Mali should also be reshaped, according to Öztürk, to better focus on the humanitarian side of the conflict, and not solely on political and strategic concerns.

The U.N. agreed to a military intervention in Mali in December, with French forces launching raids on Jan. 11.

Turkey has voiced concern over the spread of the clashes in northern Mali to the south of the country, while highlighting the importance it attaches to the territorial integrity of the country, and pledged to continue supporting international efforts for the building of national reconciliation and a democratic environment.