Turkey to explore for oil off Somalia


Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Somalia invited his country to explore for oil in its seas, after Ankara signed a maritime agreement with Libya last year, broadcaster NTV reported.

Turkey is a major source of aid to Somalia following a 2011 famine in as Ankara seeks to increase influence in the Horn of Africa to counter Gulf rivals Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Turkish engineers are helping build roads in Somalia and Turkish officers train Somali soldiers to build up the country’s army.

Speaking to reporters on his flight back from a Libya summit in Berlin, Erdogan said Turkey would take steps in line with the Somali invitation, but did not elaborate.

“There is an offer from Somalia. They are saying: ‘There is oil in our seas. You carry out these operations with Libya, but you can also do them here.’ This is important for us,” Erdogan was cited as saying by NTV. “There will be steps we will take in our operations there.”

In December, Turkish engineers were among those hit in a blast at a checkpoint in Mogadishu that killed at least 90 people. At the weekend, a car bombing wounded 15 people, including Turkish contractors, in Afgoye in an attack claimed by Somali insurgents.

In November, Turkey signed a maritime delimitation deal with Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), a move that infuriated Greece and Cyprus. Athens has been at odds with Ankara over offshore resources off the coast of the divided island Cyprus.