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Beyond Ethiopia & Somaliland, Turkey-Somalia defense deal fuels UAE rivalry

The latest deal between Ankara and Mogadishu emerges as a potential friction point for Turkey and the UAE as they vie for influence in Somalia.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ( L) stands beside Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud upon his arrival at the Aden Abdulle international airport in Mogadishu on Jan. 25, 2015.

Turkey’s announcement that its new defense and security cooperation agreement with Somalia on Feb. 8 also covers maritime security is likely to rattle several countries in the Middle East and North Africa — especially the United Arab Emirates, a rising regional power.

The deal between Ankara and Mogadishu emerges as a potential friction point between Turkey and the Emirates, which are both vying for influence in Somalia. The UAE's commercial and seaport interests in Somaliland and other regions of Somalia be at risk due to a stronger Mogadishu.

The Turkish military has been training troops for the federal government of Somalia at one of its largest overseas bases in Mogadishu since 2017. Ankara thinks that a stronger central government in Mogadishu could more effectively clamp down on jihadi groups such as Al-Shabaab and discourage the breakaway region of Somaliland from its efforts to gain international recognition for its self-styled independence. 

In response to Ethiopia-Somaliland deal 

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