Turkey opens $50m training camp for Somali Army

Turkey opens $50m training camp for Somali Army
A Turkish soldier participates in the opening ceremony of a Turkish military base in Mogadishu on Saturday. (Reuters)
Updated 01 October 2017

Turkey opens $50m training camp for Somali Army

Turkey opens $50m training camp for Somali Army

ANKARA: Turkey opened its largest overseas military training camp on Saturday on a 400-hectare seafront site in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
The $50 million camp, which has been under construction since March 2015, was inaugurated by Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire and Gen. Hulusi Akar, Turkey’s military chief of staff. About 200 Turkish soldiers will train 10,000 troops from the Somali Army, in squads of 1,500 at a time.
“Somalia needs the help of professional trainers such as Turkey’s, and there is a close relationship between the two countries, so this could be hugely beneficial to Somalia and a morale booster for the Somali people,” Abdirashid Hashi, director of the Heritage Institute for Policy Studies in Mogadishu, told Arab News. “It also strengthens the Turkish government’s presence and influence in Somalia.”
Ibrahim Nassir, an Africa expert at ANKASAM, a think tank in Ankara, said the camp was a concrete reflection of Turkey’s historical responsibilities in the region since Ottoman times. “The insecurity of Somalia has a spill-over effect on the general instability in the region. Therefore, with the restructuring of the Somali National Army, Turkey will contribute to the regional security,” he said.
“I don’t see any security risk for Turkish military officers who will be stationed there. Security conditions have improved in the capital, and Turkey also has a good image there. It has constantly been offering help in capacity building, and does not have a colonialist footstep in the country.”
Turkey also has experience in providing military training to officers of some African Union countries, including Somalia, in their fight against the terrorist group Al-Shabab.
Nassir also underlined the long experience of the Turkish military in counter-terrorism efforts against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Daesh.
Pinar Akpinar, a scholar at the Conflict Resolution and Mediation Stream of the Istanbul Policy Center, said establishing a military camp in Somalia was a way for Turkey to secure a long-term role thereby balancing soft and hard power capabilities, and was part of a broader policy of establishing a military stronghold in the Gulf of Aden.
“This is a trend among regional powers due to the diminishing US interest in the region and their aspirations to increase their leverage in the region by undertaking security provider roles,” she told Arab News.
However, the training camp was not without its risks, she said. “Somalia is a post-conflict country that still faces problems with Al-Shabab, and regional authorities such as Somaliland that are seeking their independence from Somalia, or with neighbors such as Ethiopia or Eritrea. They could see a militarily stronger Somali government as a threat.”


UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships

UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships
Updated 18 min 34 sec ago

UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships

UAE, Cyprus FMs discuss Mediterranean tensions and strategic partnerships
  • The two ministers also discussed the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Both sides discussed ways of strengthening ties in multiple sectors, including in parliamentary areasboth sides discussed ways of strengthening ties in multiple sectors, including in parliamentary areas

DUBAI: The UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs discussed the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean and ways of ensuring security and stability in the region with his Cypriot counterpart on Monday,.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan reviewed the prospects of advancing relations with Cyprus in a meeting in Abu Dhabi with Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides, UAE state news agency WAM reported.
The two ministers also discussed the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of enhancing international cooperation to ensure fair and equitable access to the vaccine for every country in the world.
Christodoulides praised the UAE’s significant overall efforts to counter the coronavirus pandemic and the efficiency of its adopted measures in mitigating the economic and social effects of the crisis.
During his visit to the UAE, the Cypriot minister also met with the Speaker of the Federal National Council (FNC), Saqr Ghobash, accompanied with the Ambassador of Cyprus to the UAE, Yannis Michaelides.
During the meeting, both sides discussed ways of strengthening ties in multiple sectors, including in parliamentary areas.
Ghobash said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on their parliamentary cooperation is required, in addition to reinforcing the role of joint parliamentary friendship committees.
A parliamentary friendship committee between the two countries will hold a meeting in the first quarter of 2021, Ghobash said, and stressed the importance of improving their coordination during global parliamentary events.
Christodoulides said that the UAE was a leading regional and international stature, noting that it is a strategic partner of his country.
He also conveyed the invitation of the President of the House of Representatives of Cyprus to Ghobash to visit Cyprus as head of a parliamentary delegation, to discuss ways of reinforcing their parliamentary ties.