The military base in Somalia is also a reminder that despite Turkey’s growing regional and national problems, Africa remains central to its global expansion strategy.
Turkey has opened its largest overseas military base in Somalia, cementing its relationship with the war-torn nation and strengthening its strategic place in the African continent.
The $50 million base was opened on Saturday (Sept. 30) and will train more than 10,000 soldiers. The move is part of an effort to institutionalize and restructure the police and military services, battle the terrorist group al-Shabaab, and help expand the government’s authority into more towns and regions. The new base also takes on an urgent significance as the 2020 withdrawal deadline for the 22,000 African Union multinational force gets closer.
By setting shop in Somalia, Turkey has become the latest country to set up a military facility in the horn of Africa nation. The United States runs clandestine operations from a base in the Lower Shabelle region, while the United Arab Emirates is expected to build a base in the self-declared region of Somaliland.
The military base in Somalia is also a reminder that despite Turkey’s growing regional and national problems, Africa remains central to its global expansion strategy. Since 2005, Africa has remained a policy priority for Ankara, with engagements taking place in the fields of diplomacy, trade, investment, aid, education, and security. Since 2009, Turkey has increased its diplomatic missions in Africa from 12 to 39. In 2011, Turkish Airlines flew to 14 African cities; by the end of 2017, it will operate 52 routes from Istanbul across Africa.
As David Shinn of Chatham House wrote, this increased alignment is “driven by the region’s growing economic importance to Ankara; its interest in diversifying away from the Middle East; and the apparent desire for influence among sub-Saharan Africa’s large Muslim population.”
Full article: Turkey Opens Its Largest Overseas Military Base in Somalia (Defense One)