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Somalia approves defense deal with Turkey

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Somalia’s cabinet and lawmakers on Wednesday approved a defense deal with Turkey, with Mogadishu locked in a dispute with Addis Ababa over a maritime agreement it says threatens its sovereignty, Agence France-Presse reported.

Under the 10-year pact, close ally Turkey will help defend Somalia’s long coastline and also rebuild the naval forces of the fragile Horn of Africa nation, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told reporters after a joint session of parliament.

“The agreement submitted to parliament today is solely about cooperation between Somalia and Turkey on maritime defense and economy, it is not in any way aimed at creating hatred or feud with another country or government,” he said.

In January, Ethiopia infuriated Somalia when it signed a maritime deal with the breakaway region of Somaliland that would give the landlocked country long-desired sea access.

“Somalia made its stance clear: that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Somalia can never be negotiated, and this has led to this historic agreement today,” deputy defense minister Abdifatah Kassim told AFP.

“Turkey is the best choice to defend Somalia coasts,” he added.

NATO member Turkey has close relations with Somalia and is its leading economic partner, notably in the construction, education and health sectors, as well as in military cooperation.

Somalia is also home to Turkey’s largest overseas military base and training facility, which has already trained more than 5,000 members of the Somali security forces, according to Turkish media reports.

It is among several nations training soldiers to take over from an African Union peacekeeping mission known as ATMIS, whose troops are set to leave by the end of the year.

The Horn of Africa nation has been blighted by decades of civil war and a bloody Islamist insurgency by the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab jihadist militant group.

Al-Shabaab continues to carry out attacks against security and civilian targets despite a military counter-offensive launched in August 2022, with US airstrikes and the AU troops on the ground.

Son of Somali president involved in accident in İstanbul

Mohamed Hassan Sheik Mohamud, the son of Somali President Hasan Sheikh Mohamud, was recently in the headlines after he was involved in a traffic accident in İstanbul that led to the death of a motorcycle courier.

He fled the country in the absence of a travel ban following the accident and returned for a quick trial, at the end of which he was given a two-and-a-half year prison sentence.

Since his sentence was converted it into a fine of TL 27,300 ($906), the younger Mohamud did not go to prison and returned home.

The victim of the accident was 38-year-old Yunus Emre Göçer.

The court’s decision led to outrage on social media, with many asking if human life has no value, while others said Mohamud was given a light sentence, although forensic reports found him primarily at fault, because he is the son of the Somali president, a close friend of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. They said the court’s decision has once again shown the lack of rule of law in Turkey.

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