Turkish warship visits Somalia

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Heading to Japan to mark a centenary of bilateral relations, the Turkish Navy warship TCG Kinaliada is visiting Somalia as one of the 20 countries on its route.

The vessel arrived in Mogadishu on 23 April, where it was welcomed by Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. He said the visit was a “sign of the enduring fraternal relations between the two brotherly nations and a new dawn for Somalia’s maritime security”.

The TCG Kinaliada’s arrival comes two months after a ten-year cooperation agreement was signed between the two nations. Few details have emerged, but it has been reported that the Framework Agreement for Defence and Economic Cooperation involves Turkey training and equipping Somali naval forces and developing their capabilities.

The agreement also reportedly gives Turkey the authority to guarantee the protection of Somalia’s 3 333 km coastline and its maritime borders. Turkey will allegedly receive 30% of revenues from Somalia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as payment for its maritime security services.

Following the ratification of the agreement, President Mohamud stated that Turkey is “the only country that has expressed its willingness to help Somalia protect its territorial waters, exploit its resources, and rehabilitate the Somali navy”.

Turkey and Somalia enjoy close ties, with Turkey establishing a military base and training college in Mogadishu – over 10 000 soldiers having graduated since its opening in 2007. A Turkish company manages Mogadishu’s airport and in 2020, the Somalian government signed a 14-year contract with a Turkish company to rebuild the largest port in the country.

According to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Turkey has provided more than $1 billion in aid to Somalia since 2011 for a variety of projects in the health and education sectors, municipal services, and infrastructure projects.

The TCG Kinaliada departed Turkey’s Aegean province of Izmir on 8 April and over the course of its 134-day voyage will conduct 24 port visits in 20 countries during its 27 000 nautical mile journey to Japan and back. Countries that will be visited include Japan, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Somalia, the Maldives, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, China, South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, India, Oman, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, and Jordan.

The TCG Kinaliada (F-514) is the fourth ship of the Ada-class anti-submarine warfare (ASW) corvettes built for the Turkish Navy by the Tuzla (Istanbul) Naval Shipyard as a part of the MILGEM project. It was laid down on 8 October 2015, launched on 3 July 2017, and commissioned on 29 September 2019.

The vessel has a displacement of 2 440 tons, is 99.5 metres long, and is powered by two diesel engines and a gas turbine giving a speed of up to 29 knots (54 km/h). She has a range of 3,500 nautical miles (6 500 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h), and an endurance of 21 days with logistical support and ten days while operating autonomously. She has a crew of 93, with space for up to 106. A Sikorsky S-70 helicopter or unmanned aircraft can be carried on the aft deck.

The ship is armed with a single 76 millimetre OTO Melara gun, two ASELSAN STAMP 12.7-millimetre guns, eight Harpoon missiles, 21 Rolling Airframe Missiles and two launchers for Mark 46 torpedoes.