Türkiye’s military and technical support key to Somalia’s stability, says ambassador

Source: Hiiraan Online, Thursday May 30, 2024

Fathudin Ali Mohamed, Somalia’s ambassador to Türkiye, stands between portraits of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo: AA Archive)

ANKARA, Türkiye (HOL)—Türkiye’s military and civil technical support is vital for Somalia’s stability and economic well-being, according to Fathudin Ali Mohamed, Somalia’s recently appointed ambassador to Türkiye. In an interview with Turkish national public broadcaster TRT, Mohamed emphasized that Türkiye’s assistance benefits Somalia and contributes to the security and prosperity of the entire region.

“Türkiye’s military and civil technical support will not only contribute to Somalia’s stability and economic well-being but also support the security and prosperity of the region as a whole,” Mohamed stated, underscoring the transformative impact of Turkish support.

A cornerstone of Türkiye-Somalia relations is military cooperation. Camp TURKSOM, a Turkish military training base in Somalia, has trained thousands of Somali youths, transforming them into well-equipped soldiers who now stand at the forefront of the fight against terrorism. “These trained and equipped soldiers are now on the front lines in the fight against terrorism,” Mohamed remarked, underlining the tangible outcomes of this cooperation. Türkiye has trained over 16,000 Somali soldiers, equivalent to one-third of the Somali military, both in Türkiye and at its Mogadishu base. Turkish-supplied drones are also operational against the al-Shabab armed group in Somalia.

Beyond military support, Türkiye has made substantial investments in Somali education and infrastructure. Since 2011, thousands of Somali students have studied in Türkiye, gaining skills and knowledge that they bring back to help rebuild their homeland. “The education pillar of our partnership is crucial. Somali students returning from Türkiye are vital to our nation’s reconstruction,” Mohamed emphasized. Turkish companies have also played a key role in reconstructing Mogadishu’s airport and port, significantly boosting the city’s infrastructure and economic prospects. The Turkish-built terminal of Aden Abdulle International Airport in Mogadishu has improved the airport’s capacity and services.

Historical ties between Türkiye and Somalia date back to the Ottoman Empire, laying a solid foundation for current relations. A pivotal moment was Türkiye’s assistance during Somalia’s devastating drought in 2011 when then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited and established long-term strategies over immediate emergency responses. Türkiye’s humanitarian efforts also extend to Gaza, which has proactively addressed crises. “We appreciate Türkiye’s efforts to end this brutality and strive to provide all the support we can,” Mohamed noted. Despite limited resources, Somali people have organized campaigns to show solidarity with Palestinians.

Looking ahead, Mohamed expressed optimism about expanding agricultural cooperation.”Our rich agricultural lands have the potential to become more productive with the support of Turkish farmers and the transfer of technology, which would enhance food security and lead to the country’s sustainable development,” he added.

In addition to existing cooperation, Türkiye plans to construct and donate an embassy building and a plot of land to Somalia at an estimated cost of over $6 million. Although the project has faced criticism in Turkish media due to its timing amid domestic austerity measures, it underscores the deepening diplomatic ties between the nations. Furthermore, a ten-year security agreement signed in February 2024 entrusts Türkiye with supporting Somalia’s maritime security by modernizing and training its naval forces. The pact includes joint exploration of hydrocarbons in Somalia’s exclusive economic zone, with Türkiye receiving a 30 percent revenue share from untapped marine resources in exchange for enhancing Somalia’s maritime security.