After the dictator Siad Barres ouster, conflicts between the General Farah Aidid's party and other clans in Somalia had led to famine and lawlessness throughout the country. An estimated 300,000 people had died from starvation. A combined military force of United States and United Nations (under the name UNISOM) were deployed to Mogadishu, to monitor the ceasefire and deliver food and supplies to the starving people of Somali. Çevik Bir, who was then a lieutenant-general of Turkey, became the force commander of UNISOM in 1993. Despite the retreat of US and UN forces after several deaths due to local hostilities mainly led by Aidid, the introduction of a powerful military force opened the transportation routes, enabling the provision of supplies and ended the famine quickly.
Çevik Bir became the Turkish army's second-in-command general shortly after the Somali operation and played a vital role in establishing a Turkish-Israeli entente against the emerging fundamentalism in the Middle East. For being a staunch defender of secularism in the region, he was awarded the Secularism and Democracy Award of 1997 in Washington, DC.