Turkey’s Military Base in Somalia: Goals and Probable Risks

History showcases that Turkey had an essential role in guarding the Horn of Africa against external enemies. For example, during the Ottoman period, when the Portuguese sought to invade the area and disturb its inhabitants; the Ottoman Sultan rushed to protect the region by sending its naval forces to the area.

After a century, Turkey is returning to the area to protect it from internal and external enemies, by launching a military training camp in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu next September. Thus, the base will be the second largest overseas Turkish army camp in the world.

Many analysts agree that; Turkey has no colonist policy in Africa particularly in Somalia. Its sole intention is to assist oppressed people in Africa in rebuilding their nations. By colonial powers, we mean the Europeans, who are upset about Turkey’s African policy. Therefore, they are organising incursions such as the Aziz Istanbul restaurant attack in Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou.

What is the Purpose of the Camp?

As it is known, since the collapse of the Siad Barre regime in 1991, Somalia has been suffering from civil war, terrorism and the absence of government institutions primarily military. In this respect, Turkey is eager to establish a military base in Somalia to train the Somali army. In my opinion, the camp will play a significant role in bolstering Somali military forces, thereby contributing to the restoration of security of Somalians.

Besides Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) and The Turkish Red Cresent (Kızılay), the Turkish military base in Mogadishu will boost the soft power of Turkey in the region. In addition to the military presence, the camp will enhance the reliability of Turkey as an essential player for the security of the area.

Turkey’s goal of establishing the base mentioned above is to eliminate terrorism from its locations before touching it, as it did in Syria and Iraq. Also, Turkey is keen to play a significant role in resolving regional crises as it is also playing a major role in solving the current Gulf crisis by sending its troops to Qatar.

President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullah Farmanjo after his election declared an era of unity. The first step he took was, calling upon members of El-Shabab terror organisation to disarm because he regarded them as a huge threat on unification.  Al-Shabab didn’t tender any attention to this appeal. On the contrary, they elevated their terrorist activities in Mogadishu. Farmanjo’s possibility of defeating the Al-Shabab is high, as he is interested in rebuilding the army by obtaining the support of the Turks. Additionally, to achieve this goal, he participated in the London summit for Somali last year. Constructing a powerful Somalian army was the agenda of the summit above, and all the supporters (mainly Turkey, UK, and UAE) pledged to support this initiative.[1]

The Possible Risks

President Faramango is very keen on fighting terrorist groups in Somalia by renewing and forging the National Army of Somalia powerful. Since his election as a new president, he has managed to reduce the number of terrorist attacks in Somalia. In this context, the Turkish military base may not be subjected to terrorist attacks because security has settled in some parts of Somalia, especially in Mogadishu.

On top of that, Turkey has soldiers and military bases in many countries, and there are no terrorist attacks on its troops, which indicate that many nations trust the Turkish Armed Forces, due to its belligerence against imperialism and injustices around the world. However a terrorist attack against Turkish Armed Forces is not impossible[2].

In conclusion;  the camp will unquestionably play a significant role in renewing the Somali army, which will restore stability in Somalia. Certainly, the stability of Somalia will lead to the security of Horn of Africa.


[1] İbrahim Nassir, “New Era in Somalia” ANKASAM, https://oldankasam.wpengine.com/en/new-era-somali/ ( Erişim Tarihi: 21.08.2017)

[2] Turkish military base in Somalia: Risks and opportunities, Arab news, http://www.arabnews.com/node/1145846/middle-east#.WZn7-MeQ7sk.facebook ( Erişim Tarihi: 21.08.2017).

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İbrahim NASSIR
1988 yılında Sudan’ın Kassala şehrinde doğmuştur. İlkokulu ve liseyi Kassala’da okuduktan sonra Sudan – Türkiye arasındaki anlaşma kapsamında lisans eğitimini almak için 2008 yılında Türkiye’ye gelmiştir. 2013 yılında Türkiye Polis Akademisi Güvenlik Bilimleri Fakültesi’nden lisans derecesini almıştır. Türkiye–Afrika ilişkileri konusunda bir çok panel ve konferensa konuşmacı olarak katılmıştır. Uluslararası alanda bir çok akademik çalışmada bulundu. Ulusal düzeyde çeşitli radyo ve televizyon programlarına katılmıştır. Yüksek Lisansını Yıldırım Beyazıt Üniversitesi’nde Siyaset Bilimi ve Uluslararası İlişkileri Bölümü’nde yapmaktadır. Afrika, Ortadoğu ve İran Çalışmaları başlıca ilgi alanlarını oluşturmaktadır. İyi derecede İngilizce ve Türkçe bilmektedir.