Somalia: Turkey Fast-Chases Recent Security Pact To Mogadishu Docking First Warship

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220721-N-DH616-2009 MEDTERRANEAN SEA (July 21, 2022) Rear Admiral Scott Sciretta, Commander, Standing NATO Maritime Group Two, along with crew members from Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), approach Turkish Navy Barbaros-class frigate TCG Kemalreis (F247) in a rigid-hull inflatable boat during small boat operations. Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) is the flagship for Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2), a multinational integrated task group that projects a constant and visible reminder of the Alliance’s solidarity and cohesion afloat and provides the Alliance with a continuous maritime capability to perform a wide range of tasks, including exercises and real-world operations in periods of crisis and conflict. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ezekiel Duran).

The arrival is part of the recent defense cooperation agreement part of which allows Somalia to ‘protect’ its waters from ‘foreign interference’.

The Turkish warship in Kinalia docked today at the port of Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, as part of a recent defense cooperation agreement signed between Ankara and Mogadishu. The ship, an Ada-class corvette, is equipped with search and navigation radar, 76 mm cannon and 8 harpoon missiles.

This is what the “Somali Guardian” news site reports, according to which Somali government officials are expected to meet members of the Turkish Navy once the warship docks at the port of Mogadishu, marking the first step towards the implementation of the agreement signed last February. In view of the docking of the Turkish ship, the Mogadishu port stopped operations while the president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is expected at the ship’s welcome ceremony in Somali waters. Under the agreement, signed by their respective defense ministers and ratified in February by the Somali parliament, Turkey will provide training and equipment to the Somali Navy, allowing Somalia to protect its marine resources and territorial waters from threats such as terrorism, piracy and “foreign interference”. The agreement will also boost economic development and trade relations between the two countries, as Turkey will help Somalia tap its vast fishing, tourism and energy potential.

The defense cooperation agreement between Mogadishu and Ankara came just weeks after Somaliland signed a controversial memorandum of understanding with Ethiopia to grant 20 kilometers of land along Somaliland’s Gulf of Aden coast for a period of at least 50 years and the construction of a military base in the port of Berbera, in exchange for the concession to Hargheisa of a share in the Ethiopian national airline Ethiopian Airlines and the recognition by Ethiopia of the independence of Somaliland. The document triggered a bitter diplomatic crisis, which culminated in recent weeks with the recall of the Somali ambassador in Addis Ababa and the order to close the Ethiopian representations in Garoe (Puntland) and Hargheisa (Somaliland).

The memorandum would allow Addis Ababa to obtain the coveted strategic outlet to the Red Sea, an objective precluded to Addis Ababa since 1993 – the year of Eritrea’s independence – and would represent a significant turning point for Ethiopian commercial exchange, offering Addis Ababa a valuable alternative route for the import and export of goods, decreasing its dependence on other ports – in particular that of Djibouti, on which it has so far depended for over 85 percent of its imports and exports – and strengthening in its regional strategic influence significantly. In an attempt to consolidate relations with friendly countries, at the end of February Somalia signed agreements with both Turkey and Djibouti, moves that seem to respond to the desire to tighten Somaliland and its Ethiopian ally. For Ankara, on the other hand, the agreements with Somalia and Djibouti are crucial to secure a front row seat at the entrance to the Red Sea, where it is seeking new commercial opportunities after its exclusion from the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor ( Imec), launched at the G20 summit in New Delhi last September.

Nova News online newspaper of Agenzia Nova