Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has received his Somali counterpart President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in Istanbul, Turkish diplomatic sources said Friday.
The pair discussed bilateral relations and international developments at a closed-door meeting.
They were accompanied by Turkish National Defense Minister Yaşar Güler, Industry and Technology Minister Mehmet Fatih Kacır and the Somali delegation, sources said.
The raging conflict between Israel and Hamas and the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Gaza were expected to be on the agenda of the leaders as the Somalian capital Mogadishu has been the scene of large protests to support Palestinians, similar to Türkiye.
Somalia is enjoying a close economic, diplomatic and military friendship with Türkiye that has been growing since Erdoğan visited Somalia in 2011.
Since then, Türkiye has built an 80,000-square-meter (861,112-square-foot) embassy in Mogadishu, which is its biggest embassy in Africa.
Turkish humanitarian organizations are also operating in the country and helped avert a famine in 2022. Somalia has witnessed one of the worst droughts in four decades for the last two years.
Somalia is also home to Türkiye’s largest overseas military base and training facility. It has the capacity to accommodate around 1,500 trainees at a time and has already trained over 5,000 Somali security forces.
Furthermore, ties with Somalia are also growing as part of Ankara’s strategy to enhance contact and cooperation with the African continent in every field.
Türkiye’s engagement with the African continent has been gaining pace over the years. Since taking office nearly two decades ago, first serving as prime minister, Erdoğan has been fostering ties with Africa, presenting Türkiye as a fairer player than the continent’s former colonial powers.
Ankara has been stressing the desire to advance relations with the continent on the basis of a win-win relationship and equal partnership while observing mutual respect. Both sides have been vowing to tap into their greater potential when it comes to further expanding and deepening relations.