Turkish officers will train over 10,000 Somali National Army soldiers to fight al-Shabaab terror group.
Mohamed Adam - MOGADISHU, Somalia (AA) – Turkey has finished its first military base in Somalia and will help train the country’s army to fight the deadly al-Shabaab terror group, a senior Turkish source told Anadolu Agency on Saturday.
A Turkish military attache speaking on condition of anonymity said the UN-backed base will be operational by the start of 2017.
About 200 Turkish officers will be deployed to the facility in Mogadishu -- the Somali capital -- to deliver the first stage of training to over 10,000 Somali National Army troops and others soldiers from across Africa, he confirmed.
Turkish military officials in Somalia also said Ankara will open a firm in Mogadishu to make Somali military uniforms.
Speaking exclusively to Anadolu Agency on Friday, Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamed praised Turkey’s involvement in the Horn of Africa country:
"Turkey’s prominent role in Somalia can be seen at all levels: humanitarian, infrastructure, health and investment.
“I am not exaggerating if I say that the historic visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Somalia in 2011 was a turning point in the evolution of security and stability in the country," he said.
"Turkey is a historical key partner for Somalia as Turkey stood with us at a time when we were ignored by the whole world,” he added. “Turkey drew the world's attention on Somalia and the Somali people respect and appreciate the Turkish government and the Turkish people as well."
This year Erdogan visited Somalia for the third time in three years and opened Turkey’s biggest embassy in Africa.