Turkey's foreign minister to visit Somalia amid pre-election crisis

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - A top minister from Turkey is set to visit Somalia in coming weeks, Garowe Online understands, in what could be an attempt to broker a deal between the opposition and the outgoing federal government of Somalia, whose mandate expired a month ago.

Mevlut Cavusoglu, who is the Foreign Affairs Minister, is said to be keen to visit the Horn of Africa nation, as a strategy to send a message over Turkey's continued support for Somalia, not only as a development partner but also as a security partner.

The diplomatic source did not, however, reveal the exact date and month for the trip, but it could be as soon as possible. Currently, there are attempts in Mogadishu to have the stakeholders sign a pre-election deal, a move that could change fortunes.

Already, Puntland President Said Abdullahi Deni and Ahmed Madobe, the Jubaland leader, are in Mogadishu for a host of talks. But curiously, three state leaders are in Turkey for the undisclosed mission, making it difficult to push for the talks.

Turkey is now a big player and a “strategic partner” of the Horn of Africa nation. Ankara said it is trying to mediate between Somalia's political rivals, a move that would bring it out as a major security and development stakeholder in Somalia.

But in recent years, the opposition has been accusing Ankara of supporting the "illegitimate" administration of Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, whose term expired recently. But Turkey insists that her agenda has nothing to do with the international politics of the country.

The Al-Shabaab has been targeting Turks in Somalia, with two reportedly dying in February when a bomber targeted a road construction site near Mogadishu.

In 2019, the militant group targeted a Turkish convoy in Mogadishu, killing several engineers from Turkey and about 90 innocent civilians in the terrorist attack.

GAROWE ONLINE

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