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Turkey's Erdogan Visits Mogadishu After Hotel Attack


President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (center, holoding microphone) inaugurates a new Turkish embassy during a one-day visit to Somalia's capital Mogadishu, June 3, 2016. (Courtesy - Somalia's state news agency SONNA)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (center, holoding microphone) inaugurates a new Turkish embassy during a one-day visit to Somalia's capital Mogadishu, June 3, 2016. (Courtesy - Somalia's state news agency SONNA)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Somalia's capital Friday, a rare instance of a foreign head of state visiting the war-ravaged country.

Erdogan went ahead with the visit despite al-Shabab's attack late Wednesday on the Ambassador Hotel in Mogadishu. The assault left 24 people dead, including the four attackers.

During the president's brief stay, Turkey and Somalia signed bilateral agreements on police training, education and energy.

Erdogan also inaugurated Turkey's new embassy. The embassy, one of Turkey’s largest worldwide, overlooks the Indian Ocean and stands next to the Abdulaziz Mosque built by the Ottoman Empire some 10 centuries ago.

This was the third visit by Erdogan to Mogadishu since August 2011, when his visit helped turn attention to the deadly famine that ravaged much of southern Somalia at the time.

Turkey has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to war-ravaged Somalia since 2011, according to Turkish officials. Last week, the Turkish Cabinet approved $24 million in budgetary support to Somalia for this year.

Prior to his stop in Somalia, Erdogan visited Uganda and Kenya.

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