Turkey Takes The Helm Of Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 2

Official Turkish Navy Photo.

On 7 July 2011, Captain Adbulhamit Şener, Turkish Navy, relieved Captain Georgios Pelekanakis, Greek Navy, as Commander of the Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 2 (SNMCMG2).

According to NATO, during 2010, SNMCMG2 has seen the participation of 19 ships from five contributing nations. The Group sailed 15,000 nautical miles, training and operating as a single team. Thirty two port visits were conducted in 16 different Countries, and SNMCMG2 took part in four operations, carrying out route surveys and surveillance surges, as well as eight exercises.

The current composition of SNMCMG 2 is as follows:

A-579 TCG Cezayirli Gazi Hasanpaşa Support Turkey
M-32 ESPS Sella Minehunter Spain
M-64 HS Kalypso Minehunter Greece
M-5560 ITS Chioggia Minehunter Italy
M-262 TCG Enez Minehunter Turkey

Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 Is Coming To Istanbul

Official Turkish Navy Photo.

According to Turkish Navy website the NATO SNMG-2, currently led by Turkish Navy will make a visit in Istanbul between 13 – 15 July 2011.

Later the task group will proceed to Black Sea and take part in Breeze-11 naval exercise, hosted by Bulgarian Navy.

After the command handover on 17 June 2011, SNMG-2 visited Catania, Italy and Suda, Greece and took part in operation Active Endeavour between 26 June – 7 July. By the surge operations conducted on behalf of Operation Active Endeavour 21 fishing boats were hailed and visited.

Click here for the official NATO press release.

News From Turkish Task Force And Comments Of Adm. Ertuğrul About Piracy

Passex with Omani Navy. Official Turkish Navy Photo.

The Turkish Navy Task Force is continuing its deployment and is making headlines around the Gulf region. The task force is composed of F-244 TCG Barbaros as flagship, F-492 TCG Gemlik, F-493 TCG Gelibolu and A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör.

This is from Oman Daily Observer:

Muscat City Centre (Seeb) will play host to a Turkish Navy band today from 7pm onwards. The band itself will be on board one of the four frigates which docked at the Sultan Qaboos Port in Muscat yesterday.
The band will be presenting some of Turkey’s most famous songs, in addition to numerous well-known, classic editions.

Play it once, Sam. For old times’ sake. Play for the hearts and minds of those people.

And this one is from The National of UAE:

“On the 26th we will conduct a bilateral passage exercise with the UAE navy and the participation of some units. Then we’ll continue with our programme as scheduled at sea.”

The admiral said he believed land-based solutions were the key to combating piracy: “If there’s a political solution ashore, we’ll support it.”

In the Indian Ocean, he said: “A ship there is not even a dot. How can we cover it? If you bring all the navies of the globe, it is nothing. But we do our best by positioning our ships in camps around Somalian coast, not to let them get access to the open seas, by keeping them in the region, in their territorial waters.”

But sensitivity was required, he said. “We are there to make a distinction between ordinary humble fisherman, and pirates.”

Admiral Ertugrul added: “Turkey is a valuable and very active member of the international community and that is why we believe that counter-piracy is a threat to the peace and prosperity not only to the region but worldwide as it has an impact on the maritime trade and safe navigation, maritime security.”

The Admiral, Sinan Ertuğul is no stranger to these waters. He has commanded CTF-151 in 2010. So he knows what he is talking about. I think it is safe to say that Turkish Navy sees the solution to the problem of piracy lies on land and the efforts of combating the piracy is just buying time.


Turkish Naval Special Forces Appear On A NATO Video

In this video Turkish special forces team deployed on board of MEKO 200 Track I class,Turkish frigate F-243 TCG Yıldırım are boarding the Romanian frigate F-221 Regele Ferdinand. This boarding was made as a demonstration for the Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard, Operational Commander of the Operation Unified Protector.

Click here for the photos of the same demonstration.

Turkey To Command The Standing NATO Maritime Group 2

Commodore Michiel B. Hijmans (l.) and Rear Adm. Sinan Azmi Tosun (r.) signing the Handover/takover book. Official NATO photo.

The Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, is one of the four NATO’s permanent naval task forces. Usually SNMG-2 is deployed in the Mediterranean area but, as required, the task force is deployed anywhere NATO requires it to deploy to.

The command of the task force is rotated among its participants on a yearly basis. The Netherlands was in command of SNMG-2 since June 2010.

Yesterday Rear Admiral Sinan Azmi Tosun, Turkish Navy took the command of SNMG-2 with a ceremony held in Aksaz Naval Base, Marmaris. The MEKO 200 TN IIB class frigate TCG Oruçreis will be the flagship of SNMG-2 for the period June – December 2010.

After Rear Admiral Tosun assumed command said:

“I am extremely proud to take over command of such a group. My predecessor Commodore Michiel Hijmans, has shown what can be achieved with the right allocation of this NATO force. I am confident that we will maintain and even improve the level of effectiveness that you and your staff have displayed. Being well aware of SNMGs’ importance to our alliance, during my term of command, I will do my utmost to keep this exceptional group well trained and operationally ready at all times in serving to ensure peace and stability in the maritime environment. We will embark on a new endeavour and look after all interests for the coming year.”

The current composition of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 is as follows:

F-245 TCG Oruçreis Frigate Turkey
F-211 FGS Köln Frigate Germany
F-464 HS Kanaris Frigate Greece

Turkish Naval Task Group In Oman

According to Times of Oman, Turkish Naval Task Force will dock at the Sultan Qaboos Port in Muscat on 19 June 2011.

TNTF will conduct joint exercises with their Omani counterparts.  During the visit which will last till 22 June,  TCG Gelibolu will host a press day.

The warships coming here are TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör, TCG Barbaros, TCG Gelibolu, and TCG Gemlik, a communiqué issued yesterday by the Turkish embassy in the Sultanate said. 

The TMTG exercise will become an annual affair hereafter, and the grand objective is to support the ongoing United Nations (UN) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) operations worldwide, and ensuring maritime security. 

Given the threats to global security, especially maritime security, Turkey’s drive assumes greater significance. 

The move also aims at showcasing Turkish Navy’s capability to deploy frigates for prolonged periods, while promoting security at the seas and contributing to world peace. 

This year, TMTG will be supporting the ongoing counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, Somali basin, and other areas, while contributing its bit to Nato and other multi-national efforts. In a bid to boost the anti-piracy efforts, TMTG will be providing naval escorts to Turkish and non-Turkish flagged vessels passing through the Gulf of Aden. 

The larger objective is to facilitate international efforts at providing protection to merchant vessels transiting the Gulf of Aden. TMTG, whose operational control is exercised by Turkish Navy Command HQ, consists of a logistic supply ship, aside from the four frigates, and is commanded by a rear admiral. 

H/T: Dave Shirlaw.

Turkish Naval Task Force Repulsed A Pirate Attack

TCG Barbaros in vicinity of M/V Emperor. Official Turkish Navy Photo

The Turkish Naval Task Force is currently in the Red Sea.  One of the main task given to this fleet was to patrol the pirate infested waters and provide escort for merchant convoys inside the IRTC.

On 6 June 2011, when pirates attacked the Liberia flagged  M/V Emperor on her way to Bab El Mandeb Strait, Turkish Navy intervened.

F-244 TCG Barbaros was the closest warship to the merchantman when the attack occurred. Upon receiving the distress call from M/V Emperor, TCG Barbaros dashed to the scene.  The pirates ceased their attack and retreated.

The other two frigates of the Task Force, TCG Gemlik and TCG Gelibolu have started to escort convoys inside the IRTC.

TCG Barbaros is a German designed and built MEKO 200 TN  class frigate. TCG Gemlik and TCG Gelibolu are US Made Perry class frigates.

TCG Anafartalar In Bold Monarch 2011

NATO released a video showing how the US SRDRS Submarine Rescue Diving and Recompression System deployed on Exercise Bold Monarch docked with the Turkish submarine S-356 TCG Anafartalar. You will see the Commanding Officer emerge into the rescue vehicle to pass a box of Turkish Delight to his rescuers in this demonstration of a successful mission.

Turkish Navy Task Force Departed For Indian Ocean

On 30 May the Turkish Naval Task Force left Aksaz Naval Base in Marmaris for a 70 day deployment in the Indian Ocean.
The task force is composed of F-244 TCG Barbaros as flagship, F-492 TCG Gemlik, F-493 TCG Gelibolu and A-595 TCG Yarbay Kudret Güngör. Another Turkish frigate F-491 TCG Giresun is already in the region as part of NATO’s SNMG-2 Task Group but she will not take part in the national task force.

During their deployment the task force will provide security for 8 convoys in the IRTC and patrol some troubled waters. Furthermore the task force will visit 8 cities in 8 countries. The task force will conduct low-key naval exercises such as PASSEX with their host navies.

The commander of the task force is Rear Admiral Sinan Ertuğrul. He is not a stranger to the region. He was at the helm of the CTF-151 for 3 months in 2010. This will be his second task force command in the same region.

In 2010 Turkish Navy announced that it has created a temporary task force with the aim of promoting peace and international security through maritime security, creating situational awareness, showing the flag and maintaining maritime presence in areas of interest, executing exercises and training with countries in the region, performing port visit to improve bilateral relations. Last years task force sailed through the Mediterranean.

You can read my posts on the previous Turkish Navy Task Force here.

The schedule for this years seems to be a busy one:

30/05/11 Departure Aksaz All
06/06/11 Convoy Protection (Eastward) Golf of Aden 2 Frigates
08/06/11 Convoy Protection (Westward) Golf of Aden 2 Frigates
08/06/11 Patrol (7 Days) Golf of Aden 1 Frigate 1 Tanker
10/06/11 Convoy Protection (Eastward) Golf of Aden 2 Frigates
12/06/11 Convoy Protection (Westward) Golf of Aden 2 Frigates
14/06/11 Convoy Protection (Eastward) Golf of Aden 2 Frigates
19/06/11 Port visit Muscat All
22/06/11 Replenishment Abu Dhabi 1 Frigate 1 Tanker
23/06/11 Port visit Doha All
01/07/11 Port visit Karachi All
07/07/11 Port visit Mumbai All
15/07/11 Convoy Protection (Westward) Golf of Aden 2 Frigates 1 Tanker
17/07/11 Convoy Protection (Eastward) Golf of Aden 2 Frigates 1 Tanker
19/07/11 Convoy Protection (Westward) Golf of Aden 2 Frigates 1 Tanker
21/07/11 Patrol (4 Days) Al Hudeyde 1 Frigate
21/07/11 Patrol (5 Days) Aqaba 1 Frigate
26/07/11 Port visit Al Hudeyde 1 Frigate
26/07/11 Port visit Jeddah 1 Frigate 1 Tanker
29/07/11 Port visit Aqaba 1 Frigate
02/08/11 Operation Active Endevour Mediterrean All
08/08/11 Arrival Aksaz All

Another Arrest In Sledgehammer

Yesterday, Air Force General Bilgin Balanlı was arrested. He is accused to be a part of the alleged Sledgehammer conspiracy. He is the highest ranking officer to be arrested in this case (yet)

According to news reports his main crime might be to order periodic areal reconnaissance flights over a large farm turned into a private village in Eskişehir. This village is populated solely by the members of the Naqshbandi order of Sufi Islam.

General Balanlı is the commander of the Turkish Armed Forces War College. According to the customs of Turkish Armed Forces the holder of this post is promoted to be the head of Turkish Air Force. Thus with the arrest of the future Commander of Turkish Air Force ( İf not arrested Gen. Balabanlı was be the commander of TuAf in August 2011) has broken the line of succession.

He is the 31st general in Hasdal Military penitentiary, Istanbul. As a comparison, there are only 30 generals in the HQ of the Turkish General Staff. In other words there are enough generals in custody to run an armed forces in size of Turkey’s.

As expected the trial of the Sledgehammer case is proceeding very slowly so that it might take years before it ends.

I know enough history that fate does not have mercy on nations that purged their officers like we do now.


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