Turkey announces intent to rebuild Somalia

June 8, 2012 at 2:58 PM

ANKARA, Turkey, June 8 (UPI) -- Turkey said it sent $50 million in humanitarian aid to Somalia, which has been wracked by civil war for more than two decades.

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.

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