SOMALIA: Hundreds of soldiers begin duties after training by Türkiye

Published: March 8, 2024

Türkiye’s TURKSOM Military Training School “plays an important role in building and improving” Somalia’s armed forces, says President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud.

Hundreds of Somali soldiers who received training at the Turkish military base and defence university in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu have started their duty with a ceremony.

Addressing the commissioning ceremony of the 500 trained soldiers on Thursday, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud praised Türkiye’s support for the African nation’s army.

“TURKSOM Military Training School plays an important role in building and improving the future of the country’s armed forces,” Mohamoud told the crowd of Somali government officials, army representatives and Turkish officials at the ceremony.

The Somali Eagle Unit was specially trained by Turkish officers and experts. They completed their training at TURKSOM in Somalia, as well as in Türkiye.

Emphasising that the biggest enemy of the Somali army is the Al Shabab terrorist organisation, Mohamoud said: “The gift that cannot be bought or changed is your own life. This gift will be offered for your country, your people, your religion and your government.”

TURKSOM, which has been working in Somalia since 2017, was established to train members of the Somali army and support the Somali army.

Turkish foreign policy in Africa

Last month, Somalia’s parliament also passed a bilateral defence and economic collaboration pact, a 10-year agreement giving Türkiye authority to protect Somalian waters.

The pact not only covers protecting Somalia’s waters but also sets the stage for establishing a naval force to secure the Horn of Africa nation.

In an interview with TRT World following the agreement, Somalia’s Defence Minister Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur extended his country’s “profound appreciation” to Türkiye for its “steadfast, prompt support and their resolute commitment to fostering peace, stability, and wealth across our region.”

Ties between Türkiye and Somalia have been one of the defining features of the Turkish foreign policy towards Africa.

In 2011, then-prime minister – now President Recep Tayyip Erdogan became the first non-African leader to visit Somalia in almost two decades.

Since then, he has visited the country on multiple occasions and hosted his Somali counterparts in Türkiye several times.