Turkish Airlines begins flights to Somalia
The first major commercial airline in more than 20 years has landed at Mogadishu airport in war-torn Somalia. Turkish Airlines says it is the start of a regular service to the Somali capital, the first by an international carrier from outside East Africa. Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bosdag was on board the flight, which was welcomed by the Somali president.
The twice-weekly flights should make travel easier for Somali businessmen and members of the large diaspora.
Somalia has not had a functioning central government for more than two decades and has been riven by factional fighting.
Islamist militants were pushed out of the capital by Africa Union and government forces last August - although they have continued to stage attacks in the city.
The plane was greeted by a large Somali government delegation, including President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, as well as UN officials and ambassadors.
"Today is a big day for Somalia," Somali government spokesperson, Abdisalam Mohamud, said, according to the BBC.
The flight follows a visit to Mogadishu last year by the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan - who said he wanted to challenge the idea that the Somali capital was a no-go area.
The start of the service was announced by Turkey's foreign minister during last month's international conference on Somalia in London hosted by the UK government.
World leaders have pledged to boost support for measures to fight piracy, terrorism and political stability in Somalia by substantially increasing international funding for the African Union military operation in the country and working more closely together.
AfricaNews Monitoring Team with files from BBC