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Thousands rally in Mogadishu in support of Somalia-Turkey defense, economic cooperation


Saturday February 24, 2024

Thousands of people crowded into Engineer Yarow Stadium in Mogadishu on Saturday to show support for the Somalia-Turkey defense and economic cooperation, which the executive and legislative branches approved last week.

 

The Mogadishu mayor and the Banaadir region governor, Yusuf Hussein Jim’ale, and lawmakers, ministers, and army officials attended the demonstration. The protesters held up placards displaying flags of the two countries and thanking Somali leaders for approving the agreement between Somalia and Turkey.

 

Earlier this month, Turkey and Somalia signed a defense and economic cooperation agreement during the Somali defense minister’s visit to Ankara.

 

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud stated that the 10-year agreement supports the development of the blue economy, fish production, economic infrastructure construction, marine resource protection, counterterrorism efforts, and prevention of all illegal activities along Somalia’s coastline.

 

Turkey has become a close ally of the Somali government in recent years. Ankara has built schools, hospitals and infrastructure and provided scholarships for Somalis to study in Turkey.

 

The new agreement comes amid increasing tension between Somalia and Ethiopia, sparked by signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Ethiopia and Somalia’s breakaway Somaliland region.

 

However, protests against Ethiopia’s Red Sea access and naval base deal with Somalia’s breakaway region of Somaliland took place in Mogadishu in December of last year.

Somalia firmly rejected the MOU, alleging that Ethiopia aims to annex parts of Somalia’s territory. President Hassan Sheikh has voiced this concern at African Union meetings and other occasions.

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