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Somalia and Turkey reach military deal

By Shafi’i Mohyaddin
Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mogadishu, Somalia (HOL) -  High-ranking military officials from Somalia and Turkey have on Thursday reached a military pact that will allow Turkey to train the Somali Armed Forces (SAF) as well as construct sophisticated military camps.

Somali Army Chief of Staff, General Dahir Aden Elmi, has signed the agreement on behalf of the federal government of Somalia. The SAF Commander, General Abdirisaq Khalif Elmi, and other top army officials witnessed the signing of the agreement.

“According to the agreement, Turkey will build fully-equipped military compounds for Somalia. This is part of a huge program that will help the Somali military,” Army Chief of Staff, General Dahir Aden Elmi, told the media in Mogadishu on Thursday.

General Dahir Aden Elmi said that military experts from both Somalia and Turkey will train Somali soldiers inside the country, adding that the era of sending army members aboard for training has nearly ended.

“This agreement will make big chances in the Somali army in terms of their quality, power and experience---we are very grateful to Turkey, the United States of America, and the European Union for their continued support,” Somali Army noted in his press conference on Thursday.

The Chief of the Training Department of the Turkish Defence, Ministry General Hamdi Arguu, displayed renderings of what the future military camps will look like after Turkey has completed the reconstruction of the old military camps. The reconstruction will also include the Hiil Weyne military training camp; which is located in the northern outskirts of the capital Mogadishu.

According to General Hamdi Arguu, more than 40 military experts from Turkey are in the country and have so far trained members from the Somali Air Force, Infantry and Navy.

Turkey has offered a substantial humanitarian aid to Somalia during the 2011 famine becoming the largest non-OECD donor in Somalia and has backed the Somali government with direct budget support.

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