Somali defense minister says military base will open in September
Turkey is set to open the largest military training camp in the Somali capital Mogadishu next month, where locals are battling an Islamist militant group in addition to drought.
Somali Defense Minister Abdirashid Abdullahi Mohamed said in a statement that the camp which had been under construction for the last two years will open this September and would be equipped to host up to 1,500 troops at one time.
The camp will be Turkey’s second overseas military installation, following the establishment of similar base in Qatar in 2015.
“We will begin deploying soldiers at the facility. Our army and other forces will receive training at the camp,” he said.
He added that the camp will help strengthen the Somali Army.
The facility which is Turkey’s largest overseas military camp is spread over 4 square kilometers (1.54 square miles) and cost about $40 million to build.
It also holds three military residential complexes and schools.
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo vowed the new base would help restore the country’s beleaguered armed forces.
“The largest Turkish military base in the world is almost ready, and the Somali army will soon be strong once again,” he said in March, according to Turkey’s Daily Sabah.
More than 200 Turkish military personnel will come to the facility to train the Somali Armed Forces and provide security to the compound, according to the Turkish mission in Somalia.
Turkey opened its largest embassy in Mogadishu last year, to help the east African country fight drought.
Turkish Ambassador to Somalia Olgan Bekar clarified that the site was “not a military base like the one Turkey has in Qatar,” but “a military training camp.”
He stressed that Turkey had “no colonialist policy in Somalia” and that Ankara’s intentions were to rebuild the country’s public institutions ruined during its civil war, its armed forces in particular.