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Turkey and Kenya seeking ties to combat terrorism

By Ally Jamah | September 4th 2016 at 19:26:46 GMT +0300

Turkish Envoy to Kenya Deniz Eke. PHOTO: COURTESY

NAIROBI: Turkey is seeking to deepen security cooperation with Kenya and other African countries to combat terrorist groups that threaten peace and stability in the region.

Turkey, which is battling frequent horrific bomb attacks from the “Islamic State” based in Syria and Iraq, said it sees Kenya as a strategic partner in East Africa in security cooperation.

“We are currently working on two framework agreements to solidify military and defence cooperation between Kenya and Turkey. Kenyan security forces continue to take part in international military exercises and training programmes in Turkey,” Turkish envoy Deniz Eke said.

“The bilateral relations between Kenya and Turkey are improving fast in every field, including the military. Today, like many other parts of the world including Kenya, Turkey is fighting with complex security challenges.”

The envoy made the comments recently to mark Turkey’s 94th Anniversary of Victory Day at her official residence.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta's official visit to Turkey that was slated for August was to enhance security and trade ties was rescheduled after the July 15 coup attempt.

Currently, Turkey is active in the security front in Africa, providing military personnel and contributing financially to seven of the existing nine peacekeeping missions in Africa.

Since 2011, Turkey and the European Union have co-chaired the Horn of Africa Working Group under the Global Counter-terrorism Forum in which 2800 Kenyan and African military personnel received advanced training in Turkey by the end of last year.

“Last year, Turkey allocated Sh30 million (US $30,000) to the East African Standby Force and the African Union Peace and Security architecture to combat terrorism,” said the envoy.

“The Turkish defence industry is among our thriving sectors with an export volume of Sh165 billion (US $ 1.65 billion) and with Kenya, we see a good potential for win-win cooperation in this area.”

Turkey is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), a military alliance of the United States and countries in Europe.

The envoy said the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey and terrorist attacks in the country will not affect the security cooperation between the country and Kenya and other countries in Africa.

Turkey is currently locked in a deadly battle with the “Islamic State” which is headquartered in Syria.

The group has carried out horrific bomb attacks inside Turkey, including on a wedding ceremony that killed at least 50 people and injured many.

Turkish forces recently rolled into Syrian territory to root out the group that had seized a town near the Turkish border, sparking alarm among Turks.

In July, a section of the Turkey’s military attempted to overthrow the elected government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan but the putsch failed after soldiers were confronted on the streets and disarmed by civilians opposed to the coup.

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