Somali and Turkish Presidents Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discussed critical topics of bilateral cooperation in Istanbul yesterday. The leaders emphasised the importance of strengthening cooperation, solidarity, and collaboration between the Somali and Turkish people.
During the meeting, President Hassan Sheikh highlighted the progress Somalia made during the first phase of the ongoing effort to liberate the country from terrorism, specifically from al-Shabaab. He commended the joint efforts of the Somali Security Forces and the Somali people, which led to the removal of terrorists from over 80 districts that al-Shabaab’s malicious activities had long plagued.
Moreover, President Hassan Sheikh underscored the significance of the relationship between Somalia and Türkiye, which is built on the brotherhood of their people, shared interests, shared visions, and a rich history of collaboration between the two nations.
Both Presidents expressed their commitment to accelerating the role of Türkiye in various areas, including security, governance, and investment in Somalia. They also agreed to prioritise the completion and implementation of development projects they had previously agreed upon.
Türkiye in Somalia
Somalia has developed a strong economic, diplomatic, and military alliance with Türkiye, a relationship that has been steadily growing since President Erdoğan visited Somalia in 2011. Since then, Türkiye has constructed its largest African embassy, spanning 80,000 square meters, in Mogadishu.
Furthermore, Turkish humanitarian organisations have been active in Somalia, playing a crucial role in preventing a famine in 2022, as the nation grappled with one of its most severe droughts in four decades over the past two years.
Additionally, Somalia hosts Türkiye’s largest overseas military base and training facility, Camp TURKSOM. It can accommodate up to 1,500 trainees simultaneously. To date, it has successfully trained over 5,000 Somali troops. The Government of Türkiye started its construction in 2015 with a $50 million budget.
Transforming aid for Somalia
Hassan Sheikh visited Türkiye on his way from Brussels, where he attended the Global Gateway Forum 2023. In his speech, the President appealed to the European Union (EU) to reconsider its approach to assisting Somalia and shift from providing humanitarian aid to helping with sustainable development projects and investments. He emphasised the need to transform humanitarian aid.