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Arms Embargo: Turkey Violated Sanctions on Somalia by Supplying Armed Drones, UN Says

The UN has released a report accusing Turkey of violating international sanctions on Somalia. According to the report, Turkey delivered armed drones to Mogadishu without notifying or getting approval from the UN, which constitutes a violation of the UN arms embargo.

The Bayraktar TB2 drones, which are manufactured by a company owned by the family of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, were delivered on December 6, 2021, via two Airbus A400M military cargo planes operated by the Turkish Air Force. UN investigators indicated that Turkey failed to file for an exemption with the UN before sending the drones even though the UN Security Council resolution explicitly specifies such clearance before the delivery of any arms to Somalia.

In response to letters of inquiry from the UN, Turkey claimed that the drones were delivered to a Turkish base in Mogadishu and that the goal was to contribute to the fight against terrorism. However, Turkish media reported that Somali officers were undergoing training in Turkey on how to use the drones as early as March 2021 and reportedly took possession of five drones, challenging the official narrative of the Turkish government that the drones in Mogadishu were intended for the use of Turkish troops stationed there.

Somalia has been under an arms embargo since 1992, which was imposed to help prevent the flow of weapons to armed groups and to support efforts to restore peace and stability. However, the UN Security Council resolution allows for the delivery of arms and weapons to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and The African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS). All other foreign troops in Somalia, including Turkish forces, must have clearance from the UN to receive arms and ammunition.

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