TURKEY

'Turkey is playing key role in the lives of Somalis'

TURKEY IS PLAYING KEY ROLE IN THE LIVES OF SOMALIS

A Somali parliamentarian Tuesday commended the Turkish government for its contributions to developing infrastructure as well as providing humanitarian aid to the Horn of Africa country.

''The Turkish government is playing a significant role in the lives of Somalis and its government,'' Lufti Sheriff Mohamed, currently attending the Pan-African Parliament in South Africa, told Anadolu Agency in an interview.

He said the 2011 visit of then-Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Somalia in the midst of a famine cemented the historic bilateral relationship.

Mohamed said when Erdogan arrived in Somalia, he went straight to internally displaced people's camps instead of rushing to the presidential palace, a move which inspired Somalis' feelings of love and solidarity towards the Turkish people.

Turkey is "making a significant contribution. We hope they increase assistance to their brotherly nation,'' the lawmaker said.

Asked about Turkey's recently launched largest overseas military training academy in Somalia, Mohamed said it will help rebuild the Somali army by training them to able them to secure their country.

Last month, Turkey's Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar inaugurated the four-square kilometer facility, meant to train Somali troops with much-needed military skills.

The African Union currently contributes over 20,000 troops and police officers to keep the peace in Somalia, but experts say the country needs to have its own fully equipped and trained national army.

Somalia descended into a civil in 1991 following the overthrew of late President Mohammed Siyad Bare, and has since remained in the grip of periodic violence.

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