Why Turkey is Set to Open Military Base in Somalia

© AP Photo / Farah Abdi Warsameh-FILEAl-Shabaab fighters display weapons as they conduct military exercises in northern Mogadishu, Somalia
Al-Shabaab fighters display weapons as they conduct military exercises in northern Mogadishu, Somalia - Sputnik International
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After an agreement with Doha to establish a military base in Qatar, Ankara started to prepare for the opening of their second base in Somalia. Allegedly, this base will be used to train soldiers from Somalia and other African countries combating terrorist organizations.

A Somali soldier stands guard during a visit by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to a refugee camp in Mogadishu, Somalia to witness the famine in Somali capital Friday Aug. 19, 2011 - Sputnik International
Turkey to Build Second Foreign Military Base in Somalia
The military center in the Somalian capital of Mogadishu will be capable of training more than 1,500 local troops to boost security in the country and assist it in its fight against the Al-Shabaab militant group.

Sputnik spoke in an exclusive interview with the Head of the Turkish Association of retired officers, Lieutenant General of the Turkish Air Force, Erdogan Karakus, about what goals Ankara is actually pursuing with such an active military expansion in the region and whether this initiative could make Turkey the main target of the Al-Shabab group.

“Turkey has begun to establish bases in those countries with which it has good relations, first it was in Qatar now in Somalia. As you know, the situation around Somalia, due to the constant threat of attack by pirates has long been troubled. The need for such a base is long overdue.”

Karakus further said, “Violent clashes in the Horn of Africa were there before the Somali pirates. In 1992, as part of the UN peacekeeping operation in the region it was sent to the Turkish unit under the command of General Cevik Bira, who then headed a contingent of UNOSOM II. After completing tasks, it was decided to leave Somalia.

But then, as you know, Somalia fell into the hands of the various factions.”

Looking at the cost for Turkey to manage and solve this crisis, the general said that in order to fight pirates in Somali waters there are always one or two of Turkish ships present in any case. It is difficult to fill them and even more difficult to replace.

“Our initiative will be carried out under the supervision of the UN, but the base will be Turkish. And therefore up-keep of this base will be expensive. But at the same time it can reduce our costs of refueling and delivery of necessary materials for combat duty in the waters of Somalia.”

Regarding the threats from Al-Shabab, Karakus said that Turkey is already under intense attacks from Daesh and PKK militants. “We are used to the terrorist’s activity and we must fight them one way or another.”

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