Turkey denies involvement in al-Shabaab raid
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Al-Shabab fighters just outside Mogadishu prepare to travel into the city. The group said a Turkish soldier was wounded during the Somalia raids. AP PhotoThe Turkish Foreign Ministry was today quick to deny claims that hinted of Turkish cooperation with British forces against the militant group al-Shabaab on the ground in Somalia.
Ministry spokesperson Levent Gümrükçi said the claims, made by the al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group itself, did not reflect the truth.
Earlier, al-Shabaab militants told Reuters that British and Turkish Special Forces had raided Barawe, killing a rebel fighter, but that a British officer was also killed and others wounded. The wounded included an injured Turkish soldier, the group said.
Britain’s Defense Ministry, as well as Turkey’s, denied such involvement, however.
Gümrükçü also added that media reports based on such claims were also completely groundless, and no Turkish soldier was wounded in the raids conducted by U.S. forces prompted, reportedly, by the Westgate Mall attack which killed scores of people in Kenya two weeks ago.
Turkey has been strengthening relations with Somalia, increasing the flow of aid to the country often stricken by violence and terrorism. Just recently, the Somali prime minister said the country was set to engage in tight cooperation with Turkey on counterterrorism issues.
“I’m saying it here for the first time. We will engage in cooperation on security and counter-terrorism issues. The official signatures have not been made yet, but we have reached a verbal agreement. Turkey will provide us with training and support on terrorism,” Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon told daily Yeni Şafak.