Turkey and Somalia signed a defense pact

Turkey, Somalia Sign Defense Pact in Wake of Ethiopia-Somaliland Agreement

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The deal, which includes cooperation against terrorism, comes as tensions in the Horn of Africa over a controversial deal between Ethiopia and the breakaway region of Somaliland continue to simmer.

Turkey and Somalia on Thursday signed a cooperation deal on defense amid lingering tensions in the Horn of Africa over a controversial agreement between Ethiopia and the breakaway region of Somaliland.

The Defense and Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement was signed between Turkish Defense Minister Yasar Guler and his Somali counterpart, Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur, who paid an official visit to Ankara.

“The agreement we signed today involves cooperation on the fight against terrorism and military-financial cooperation,” Nur said, speaking at a joint press conference. “We believe that the agreement will contribute greatly to Somalia.”

Guler, who described the two defense chiefs’ meeting as “fruitful,” said that the deal “will further improve” bilateral military relations between the two countries.

“Somalia is an important partner of Turkey in Africa,” he added, reiterating his country’s support for the African country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Turkey-educated Nur’s visit to Ankara comes as tensions in the Horn of Africa are simmering over a Jan. 1 deal signed between Somaliland and Ethiopia that would grant Addis Ababa access to the Red Sea in return for the recognition of breakaway Somaliland.

Somalia, which doesn’t recognize the de facto republic, rejected the agreement as a violation of its sovereignty. Ankara publicly backed the territorial integrity of Somalia in the face of tensions. Somalia — one of the few countries to host a Turkish military base — maintains close military and economic cooperation with Turkey. [BY EZGI AKIN | AL MONITOR]