TCG Gemlik visits Malaysia, While The Rest Of The Turkish Task Group Hunts For Pirates

TCG Gemik, in Medan. Official Turkish Navy Photo.

F-492 TCG Gemlik has finished her visit to Medan Indonesia and proceeded to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.

The frigate was one of the 5 ships that sailed as the Turkish Naval Task Group from Marmaris in June.

After finishing their visit in India the rest of the group returned to piracy fighting operations in Gulf of Aden whereas TCG Gemik started her Far East Tour. The first stop was Medan, Indonesia. The current stop in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. She will leave Kuala Lumpur on 23 July 2011.
The Turkish Navy did not made the route of TCG Gemlik and the schedules of her port visits public. Therefore it is not possible to say whether besides Tokyo and Shanghai, she will visit other ports / nations or not. But I would not be surprised if she would made stops in Singapore and in Korea.

Convoy operations. Official Turkish Navy Photo.

In the meantime the rest of the Task Group returned to Gulf of Aden and escorted merchant convoys inside the IRTC between 15 and 22 July.

A Turkish Navy delegation visitied the commader of NATO’s SNMG-1 /CTF-508 Rear Admiral Gualtiero Mattesi on his flagship D-553 ITS Andrea Doria. Actually SNMG-1 consists solely from ITS Adrea Doria. That makes SNMG-1 officially the smallest NATO fleet ever.

The anti piracy operations of Turkish Naval Task Group will continue till end of this week. On 26 July 2011 F-244 TCG Barbaros will visit Jeddah.

The Turkish Navy Task Group minus TCG Gemlik will return to Turkey on 8 August 2011.

Is The Mysterious Chinese Amphibious Ship A Contender In Turkish LPD Bid?

On 21 July 2011, the Navy Technology website reported that the Chinese Navy has officially launched its largest amphibious dock landing warship, Jinggangshan, in Shanghai.

While the information about the ship is sketchy and the lack of any visual material makes any assessment difficult it was reported that the 210m-long warship had a water displacement capacity of 19,000t and could carry 1,000 soldiers, helicopters, armoured fighting vehicles, boats and landing craft.

But a clone of that ship may end up in Turkish Navy if the Deasan Shipyard wins the bid for Turkish LPD.

In May 2011, three Turkish shipyards, Deasan, RMK Marine and Sedef submitted their bids for RfT to design and build a LPD type ship. RMK Marine submitted their own design, Sedef teamed with Navantia and submitted a redesigned Juan Carlos 1. The most secretive bid was Deasan’s. The shipyard teamed with China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation which build the Type 071 amphibious ships for PLA(N).

As is the design of Type 071 does not covers the requirements of Turkish Navy but the new mysterious Type 081 could be a match. If so then competition for the Turkish LPD will be really interesting to watch.

At the moment all this is just a speculation as there is simply not enough information available on Type 081.


Click here to read more on Turkish LPD contest.


The Lamest NATO Fleet Ever?

One of the NATO’s standing naval forces was in Istanbul last week. According to NATO:

The Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 is a multinational, integrated maritime force – made up of vessels from various allied nations, training and operating together as a single team. The Group is permanently available to NATO to perform a wide range of tasks, from participating in exercises to crisis response and real world operational missions. Usually the Force is employed in the Mediterranean area but, as required, will be available anywhere NATO requires it to deploy to.

So I went out to take the photos of the warships. One of he photos is below:

Well do not look for other ships as this photo shows the whole SNMG-2 as is. The Turkish frigate must be here because Turkey has the command of the SNMG-2 and therefore supplies a frigate with flag and command facilities.  The Greeks must be there too. Staying loyal to the old saying “I keep my friends close, my enemies closer”, Greece wants to be in when their archenemy has taken the command of one the major naval groups so that they can prevent Turkey doing something against them.

So these two nations do not have any excuses. I know that many NATO navies are trying hard to save the pennies to survive the year and have commitments elsewhere like off the coast of Somalia or off the coast of Libya. But how about the rest? In the good old days when SNMG-2 or its successor STANAVFORMED was in town there were warships all over the place. US, British, Italian, French sometimes even Canadian or German warships would be here.  Where are they now?

Are the large economies and rooted democracies of NATO are in a so desperate status that they cannot spare a warship for SNMG-2?

Such naval groups or task forces are not only an instrument of war but also an instrument of politics and diplomacy. What is the message (I assume there is one) NATO is trying to give to its members and non-members in this part of the world by making up a naval group consisting of just two warships? This is just sad.

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.


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