Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that Turkey intends to rebuild Somalia in a bid to expand its influence in Africa, Voice of America reported.
Somalia's U.N.-backed transitional government has managed to gain the upper hand in fighting against al-Shabaab rebels, VOA said. Turkish aid agencies have been operating on territory controlled by both factions.
Somalia, which is emerging from drought, also has become a haven for pirates.
Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesman Selcuk Unal said Ankara's efforts are part of a wider strategy to bring stability to sub-Saharan Africa.
"We will be continuing our reconstruction efforts on all of these issues, energy, reconstruction, transportation, those sorts of issues," Unal said.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]