Turkey’s first military base in Africa to open

A Turkish military center in Somalia is expected to train Somalian troops to fight against Al-Shabaab militants.

Following a military base in Qatar, Turkey’s second overseas military base will be in Somalia, at the coast of the Gulf of Aden.

According to an agreement approved by the United Nations, almost 1,500 Somalian military personnel will be trained by Turkish military trainers.

The military base in Mogadishu is a part of Turkey’s pledge to build up the national army for the Somali government, which will fight against the al-Shabaab terror organization as well as other regional terror groups.

According to government sources the initiative was a part of a framework agreement between the countries on defense industry cooperation signed last year.

On January 25 in 2015, Mogadishu and Ankara reached an agreement to increase military cooperation, which lasted almost a year until it was approved by the Defense Committee of the Turkish Parliament on December 9, 2015.

Al Jazeera Turk reported about 200 Turkish troops will be deployed as trainers while the Turkish military will maintain the security and management of the base.

“This military training center will also be an important base to provide military training to all Africa,” Emil Tekin, head of the department, in charge of the Turkish Foreign Ministry in Somalia, said last week recalling that the base is the first in Turkey in Somalia.

He added that Turkey also planned to build a military school in the African country to train both formal and non-commissioned officers. All the moves from Ankara will help Mogadishu’s intent to establish a military structure under a single chain of command in order to fill the gaps they have on that matter.

Turkey has been providing military assistance to Somalia since 2010, based on military financial cooperation and military training support deals between Ankara and Mogadishu.

Officials say last year’s contract comes following successful results of the earlier two agreements.

Strengthening the national army is important for the security of Somalia as well as the viability of the UN-backed transitional government against the background of terrorism committed by the al-Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab militants.

Somalia became the first step in Turkey’s development of relations with African states, as officials from Ankara say soldiers from other African nations will be trained at the base.

While Somalia was facing devastating starvation, Turkey launched the biggest aid campaign for the country and provided over $400 million in humanitarian aid.

Turkey will be hosting the High-Level Partnership Forum in Turkey in Istanbul on February 23-24, which is a follow-up to the High-Level Meeting on Somalia held in New York on September 28, 2015.

Source: YeniSafak.com