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Somalia-Türkiye maritime pact: Fortifying Somalia’s sovereignty

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Somalia’s engagement with Türkiye should not be viewed in isolation but as part of a broader strategy to navigate the complex dynamics of the Horn of Africa

Somalia finds itself at a critical juncture in the recent choppy seas of geopolitical maneuvering in the Horn of Africa. Recent events, including Ethiopia’s overtures toward Somaliland, a breakaway region of Somalia, underscore the region’s complexities and the imperative for Somalia to safeguard its sovereignty and economic interests. In response to Ethiopia’s attempts, Somalia’s decision to forge a maritime defense and economic pact with Türkiye marks a significant strategic move with far-reaching and tangible results.

Ethiopia’s recent regional maneuvers, particularly its agreement with Somaliland, have raised eyebrows and concerns across the region. The implicit threat of annexation looms large, with Ethiopia eyeing strategic access to the sea through Somaliland’s ports. This move challenges Somalia’s territorial integrity and disrupts the delicate balance of power in the region.

In the face of these challenges, Somalia has turned to Türkiye, a trusted ally with a proven record of accomplishment of strategic partnerships in the region. The maritime defense and economic pact between Somalia and Türkiye signal a commitment to bolster Somalia’s defense capabilities and foster economic development. This alliance underscores the importance of multilateral cooperation in addressing regional security challenges and advancing shared interests.

Significance of the pact

The strategic significance of Somalia-Türkiye cooperation cannot be overstated. Türkiye’s proactive role in Somalia spans various sectors, including infrastructure development, health care and education. Türkiye’s engagement in Somalia is not solely driven by geopolitical interests but is rooted in a genuine desire to support Somalia’s state-building efforts and contribute to regional stability.

Moreover, the maritime aspect of the pact holds immense economic potential for Somalia. As a country with vast maritime resources, Somalia stands to benefit from enhanced maritime security and the development of its blue economy. The pact with Türkiye opens avenues for joint ventures, technology transfer and capacity building in the maritime domain, paving the way for sustainable economic growth and job creation.

Critics may question Türkiye’s motives or raise concerns about the implications of deeper Turkish involvement in the region. However, it is essential to recognize that Somalia’s partnership with Türkiye is based on mutual respect, shared interests, and a commitment to sovereignty and territorial integrity as seen in the previous multilateral agreement between the two countries. Unlike other countries’ unilateral actions, Somalia’s alliance with Türkiye is grounded in principles of cooperation, reciprocity and respect for international law.

Furthermore, Somalia’s engagement with Türkiye should not be viewed in isolation but as part of a broader strategy to navigate the complex dynamics of the Horn of Africa. Türkiye remains committed to diplomatic engagement and regional cooperation, seeking peaceful resolutions to conflicts and promoting inclusive dialogue among stakeholders.

Why Türkiye matters for Somalia the most

In the shifting sands of geopolitics, Türkiye’s rising prominence in the Middle East adds a layer of significance to the maritime defense and economic pact with Somalia. As traditional power dynamics evolve and new actors assert their influence, Türkiye’s proactive engagement in the Horn of Africa underscores its emergence as a pivotal player in the region.

Türkiye’s assertive foreign policy in the Middle East has reshaped the regional landscape, challenging established alliances and recalibrating power dynamics. With its strategic location bridging Europe and Asia, Türkiye has positioned itself as a key player in regional affairs, wielding influence and projecting power beyond its borders.

The Turkish-Somali alliance not only consolidates Türkiye’s foothold in the Horn of Africa but also amplifies its role as a regional power broker. By deepening its engagement with Somalia, Türkiye extends its sphere of influence and bolsters its strategic interests in the broader Red Sea and Indian Ocean regions.

Moreover, Türkiye’s involvement in Somalia reflects its broader ambitions to enhance its maritime presence and secure vital sea routes. As a nation with a rich maritime history and a strategic interest in maritime security, Türkiye recognizes the importance of safeguarding critical sea lanes and securing access to key maritime chokepoints.

The partnership with Somalia serves as a strategic opportunity for Türkiye to expand its naval capabilities, establish logistical hubs and assert its presence in the strategically vital waters of the Horn of Africa. By strengthening Somalia’s maritime defense capabilities, Türkiye not only advances its interests but also contributes to regional stability and security.

Furthermore, Türkiye’s engagement in Somalia is not solely driven by strategic calculations but also underpinned by humanitarian considerations and a commitment to international solidarity. Türkiye’s extensive humanitarian assistance and development projects in Somalia have earned it goodwill and credibility among the Somali people, laying the groundwork for deeper cooperation and mutual trust.

The maritime defense and economic pact between Somalia and Türkiye represents a beacon of hope amid Ethiopia’s reckless quest to acquire Somalia’s waters illegally and intensify the already troubled region of the Horn of Africa. In the face of external pressures and territorial challenges, Somalia’s partnership with Türkiye reaffirms its commitment to sovereignty, security and economic prosperity. As Somalia charts its course forward, it does so with the assurance that it is not alone but stands shoulder to shoulder with partners who share its vision for a stable, prosperous and sovereign Somalia.

On the military front, signing an agreement with Türkiye presents a more direct and strategic move for Somalia. Türkiye’s significant military presence in Mogadishu, exemplified by its largest military base outside its borders, positions it as a potential ally for Somalia in addressing security concerns. Türkiye’s comprehensive military capabilities, including a formidable navy and air force, make it a compelling partner in safeguarding Somalia’s territorial integrity.

Türkiye’s emergence as a regional power in the Middle East adds a layer of importance and complexity to the maritime pact with Somalia. As Somalia charts its course forward, it must leverage its partnerships judiciously, safeguard its sovereignty, and pursue a path of inclusive development and regional cooperation with a powerful ally in Türkiye.

Source: Daily Sabah

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