“My trip was basically to thank to Turkish government, Turkish people for the support they give Somalia,” Somali’s foreign minister said Thursday on a diplomatic visit to Turkey.
Top Somali diplomat Ahmed Awad’s remarks came after a meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday, in which they discussed how to strengthen ties between the two countries.
“I brought greetings from my president and my prime minister to the president of Turkey and Turkish people for the very strong continued support that Turkey provides Somalia on all fronts,” he told Anadolu Agency.
“We don’t have a better friend than Turkey in Somalia, and the Somali people know that,” he said, expressing the appreciation of Somalia for Turkey’s support on the global stage and in the country’s development process.
“The Somali people’s heart and minds are with the Turkish people,” he added.
He emphasized that an arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council has been hindering Mogadishu in its fight against al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab militants who have been wreaking havoc in the country for the past decade.
“We think that this embargo has outlived its usefulness,” he said, adding that the country would prefer to have it lifted.
Mentioning Turkey’s support for the peace building process between Somalia and Somaliland, Awad said: “Somaliland is a part of Somalia.”
Emphasizing that Somalia welcomed any support to improve the relationship between Somalia and Somaliland, he underlined that Mogadishu wants its “brothers in Somaliland to rejoin the Somali state.”
The UN Security Council first imposed an arms embargo on Somalia in January 1992.
Although it was relaxed in subsequent years, the embargo is still in effect. In 2014, the Security Council reaffirmed the overall arms embargo on Somalia.
Turkey has stood with Somalia since 2011 when then-Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the country with his family during a devastating famine. Turkey has since provided infrastructural, humanitarian and medical assistance to the East African country.
In August, Turkey launched the largest overseas military training academy in Somalia, which will help rebuild the Somali armed forces by training them to secure the country.
*Writing by Havva Kara Aydin