Turk Hava Yollari AO, the carrier known as Turkish Airlines, began twice-weekly flights to the Somali capital, Mogadishu.
A plane carrying officials including Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag touched down in the city today and was met by a delegation led by Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
Turkey’s show of support for Somalia by introducing the route marks an “historic day” for the Somali people, Abdisalam Mohamud, the minister of state for the interior, told reporters at the airport.
Somalia descended into chaos after the ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. Al-Shabaab, an Islamic militant group with links to al-Qaeda, has been battling Somalia’s United Nations-backed transitional federal government since 2007. The African Union has 12,000 peacekeepers in the country supporting Sheikh Sharif’s administration, while Kenyan and Ethiopian forces entered the country last year to fight the militants.