President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Turkey is considering exploring Somalia’s oil in its seas, on its invitation.
Reuters on Tuesday reported — quoting broadcaster NTV — that Somalia had invited Turkey to explore for oil in its seas after Ankara signed a maritime agreement with Libya last year.
“There is an offer from Somalia. They are saying: ‘There is oil in our seas. You are carrying out these operations with Libya, but you can also do them here.’ This is very important for us,” Erdogan was cited as saying by NTV.
“Therefore, there will be steps that we will take in our operations there.”
Since President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s first visit to Somalia in 2011— then as prime minister — the relations between Mogadishu and Ankara have close.
Turkey has been a major source of aid to Somalia, and has invested in institutions such as hospitals and schools and well as in humanitarian. Its biggest embassy in Africa is based in Mogadishu.
They are also training Somali soldiers.
Experts argue that Ankara seeks to increase its influence in the Horn of Africa to counter Gulf rivals such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
An Anglo-Turkish oil exploration company, Genel Energy, withdrew its expatriates from Somalia’s separatist region of Somaliland in an unofficial move in September 2013.
Due to security threats and political pressure, Genel Energy permanently stopped exploration operations and pulled the company’s teams out of Somaliland regions, of northwestern Somalia.
In November, Turkey signed a maritime delimitation deal with Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord, in a move that infuriated Greece and Cyprus, Reuters said.