"The Turkish aid workers were arrested because they did not coordinate with our national security. They met with al Shabaab without clearance or approval from government security," a government humanitarian coordinator told Reuters.
The pair was released following talks between Turkey's ambassador to Somalia, President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and the Horn of Africa country's chief of intelligence. One of the workers is an emergency aid official working with the Hamas-tied Turkish charity IHH.
An IHH official who declined to be named dismissed the incident as "normal, because of the security situation there."
The Turks were arrested after delivering food and supplies to an area outside Mogadishu known as KM 50, where thousands of Somalis are living in refugee camps. KM 50 is controlled by al-Shabaab, the Somali militant group tied to al-Qaida and fighting to overthrow the Somali government.
This was the first aid group to visit the region controlled by al-Shabaab, which has banned aid agencies from operating in areas they control. The group arrived at the refugee camp on Monday, and a Turkish delegate said they were warmly welcomed by al-Shabaab officials in the region. The official added that the group will deliver aid to other regions controlled by the terrorist group.
Sheikh Hassan Abu Ayman, a member of al-Shabaab's committee for drought, said the Turkish men reached them to deliver humanitarian aid and food to the famine-hit Somalis.
An IHH-sponsored humanitarian aid ship named "Gazze" arrived in Mogadishu on Monday, and was welcomed by the IHH aid teams in the region. IHH also intends to dispatch the Mavi Marmara ship, the site of the controversial May 2010 Gaza flotilla clash, on a humanitarian mission to Somalia.