The son of Somalia’s President has fled Turkiye after reportedly killing a delivery rider in a crash, causing an international arrest warrant to be issued against him.
On 30 November, the son of Somali President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud – named Mohammed – collided with a motorbike delivery rider in Istanbul, according to a police report quoted by Turkish media. Six days later, the father of two, Yunus Emre Gocer, died in hospital.
Following preliminary investigations into the incident, police reportedly released Mohammed Hassan Sheikh Mohamud without any bail conditions. Days later, police then went to his home only to find that “he had been gone since 2 December”.
The police’s release of the suspect has been condemned by many, including Istanbul Mayor, Ekrem Imamoglu, who stated on X that the Somali President’s son “left Turkiye freely” with Turkish authorities “allowing this escape” and being “incapable of defending citizens’ rights in their own country”.
Moto-kurye Yunus Emre Göçer, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti vatandaşıydı. Somali Cumhurbaşkanı’nın oğlunun yaptığı kazayla bu hayattan koparıldı. Biz, hukuki sürecin takipçisi olacağız dedik ama zanlı elini kolunu sallayarak Türkiye’den ayrıldı. Kurbanın ailesinin acısı daha da katlandı. Bu… pic.twitter.com/zLhzX7JiSa
— Ekrem İmamoğlu (@ekrem_imamoglu) December 8, 2023
The Turkish Prosecutor then issued an international arrest warrant on Friday, in an effort to bring the suspect back to Turkiye for legal proceedings.
A key reason for the change in the judicial authorities’ attitude is that the initial report of the incident blamed the victim for “negligence”, whereas the second report – supported by video recordings – accused the Somali President’s son for being “100 per cent responsible”.
Turkish Parliamentarian, Dr Kani Torun, appealed publicly to Somalia’s President, stating on X that “Your son killed a motorist in a car accident and then runaway [ran away] from Turkiye. This is not right for you as a devout Muslim and for Somalia as a bad publicity. Please send your son to go to court for legal proceedings and compensate victim’s family.”
Dear President @HassanSMohamud
Your son killed a motorist in a car accident and then runaway from Türkiye. This is not right for you as a devout Muslim and for Somalia as a bad publicity. Please send your son to go to court for legal proceedings and compensate victim’s family.
— Dr. C. Kani Torun (@torunkani) December 9, 2023
The incident, especially if unresolved, is seen by many as a potential disaster for relations between Ankara and Mogadishu, which have both been developing ever closer relations throughout the past decade. Turkiye has grown to be Somalia’s leading economic partner, and the two have also expanded ties in terms of military cooperation.