Turkey will soon open a military base in Somalia, its first in Africa, to train Somali troops to combat extremist organisations.
Turkish publication Daily Sabah said on Friday that the base has been completed in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu. Around 200 Turkish personnel will be initially deployed to train 10 500 Somali soldiers.
Turkey has enjoyed close defence ties with Somalia for years, and in January last year signed an agreement to capacitate Somalia’s military.
The base, established with the consent of the United Nations, will be operational by 2017, according to a Turkish military official.
Turkish military officials in Somalia also said Turkey will open a uniform factory in Mogadishu for the Somali military.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency on 30 September, Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamad said, “Turkey’s prominent role in Somalia can be seen at all levels: humanitarian, infrastructure, health and investment.”
This year Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan visited Somalia for the third time in five years and opened Turkey’s largest embassy in Africa. Erdogan in 2011 became the first non-African leader to go to Somalia in nearly 20 years, visited various projects that have benefited from Turkish investment, including a new airport terminal and a rehabilitated seaport.
Turkey was a major contributor to the humanitarian aid effort at the height of the 2011 famine and Ankara continues to build hospitals and dispatch aid across Somalia.
Turkey’s first foreign military base is in Qatar. It was established in April this year.