Turkish president visits Somalia

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud (left) and other officials meeting with Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (right) in Mogadishu on June 2, 2016. PHOTO | SOMALI PRESIDENCY 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Friday arrived in the Somali capital Mogadishu for a state visit.

President Erdogan was on arrival received by his host President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and several government officials.

He was then led to Abdulaziz District where he opened the new Turkish Embassy. The premises in Mogadishu overlooks the famous Lido Beach.

Cut the ribbon

Flanked by their respective wives, the two leaders simultaneously cut the ribbon to open what is believed to be the biggest Turkish Embassy in the world.

President Erdogan promised that Turkey would establish an army training camp in Somalia.

“I may come back to open the camp,” he said.

Severe drought

The visit is President Erdogan's third to Mogadishu. He first came to Mogadishu as Prime Minister in August 2011, during which he attracted the world attention to the plight of thousands of Somalis affected by a severe drought.

Projects initiated by Turkish agencies in Somalia since 2011 include hospitals, colleges, housing estates and centres offering humanitarian services.

Turkish companies manage Mogadishu’s international port and airport.

The two sides

President Erdogan’s visit came a day after Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond spent a day in Mogadishu. He held talks with the Somali President, Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke and other officials.

Mr Hammond promised Britain’s support to Somalia while the two sides discussed at length politics, security, unification of the Somali army, public funds management and collaboration between the Somali forces and the Amisom peacekeepers.

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