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INTERNATIONAL > NATO flexes muscles on terror in Med Sea

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

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The Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, consists of Turkey’s Gediz, France’s Courbet and Germany’s Bayern frigates, arrives in Istanbul. The group will head to the Med soon. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

The Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, consists of Turkey’s Gediz, France’s Courbet and Germany’s Bayern frigates, arrives in Istanbul. The group will head to the Med soon. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

Erdem Güneş Erdem Güneş erdem.gunes@hdn.com.tr

A key NATO maritime group has begun flexing its muscles in the Mediterranean as it sets off from Istanbul with a mission to combat terrorism in the sea.

The task of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 is “to give a clear message to terrorists in the region that NATO is on duty,” German Rear Adm. Thorsten Kahler told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday. Germany recently took over the leadership of the mission from Turkey.

The group will conduct its mission in the eastern Mediterranean at a time of increased tensions in the area following the recent downing of a Turkish jet by Syrian forces and continued energy exploration off Greek Cyprus’ southern coast that has upset Turkey and Turkish Cyprus.

This anti-terrorism mission is “the only Article 5 mission of NATO so far, coming from Sept. 11 of course, and [it has been] making the Mediterranean a safer place and preventing terrorism,” Kahler said.

Under Article 5 of the NATO convention, an armed attack against one of the alliance’s members is considered an attack against them all, effectively necessitating a combined response.

“Terrorism is not dead and we have to make sure that the message of NATO is understood. People and especially NATO are not willing to accept terrorism coming to the Mediterranean. We have to publish that message clearly,” Kahler said.

Rear Adm. Kahler said the group would be heading further into the Mediterranean on July 7.

“We are not telling our whole schedule, but we will stay in the region.” Asked whether there was such a lack of security in the region that an anti-terrorist mission was necessary, he said NATO did not know how many terrorists there were around the world. “So what we have to make sure is to tell the terrorists to be careful; we are here and providing security for NATO member states,” he said.

Three frigates from Turkey, France and Germany

He also said they were in Istanbul “to say thank you” to Turkey, which is one of the biggest providers of ships. The group was handed over in a ceremony held at the Aksaz Naval Base in the southwestern district of Marmaris on June 15. The maritime group consists of three frigates registered under three different countries. Turkey’s Gediz, France’s Courbet and Germany’s Bayern have 545 sailors on board in total.

The frigates also have their own choppers and helicopter landing sites, as well as ship-to-ship and ship-to-air missiles, automatic light naval guns and 100- 76- and 27-mm guns.

According to official information from the alliance, Mark 46 torpedoes, which are designed to attack high-performance submarines, are also included among the group’s armaments.

Rear Adm. Sinan Azmi Tosun, the previous Turkish commander of the group, said they had
conducted operations against 10 pirate ships, arresting 175 suspected pirates.

July/05/2012

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MR Somalia

7/5/2012 8:12:08 AM

What muscles are you talking about? NATO only preys on the small boys. They can't even defeat few poorly armed Talibans in over a decade long war. Turks just want to drum up support for a Syrian invasion. If you think you can handle them go invade them stop begging. NATO is nothing among Somali and Afghan people who know how to fight them. Its sad to see Turks idolizing a man equal to them with just bigger gun. Its the heart not the gun.

Ahmet TAHIR

7/5/2012 6:15:59 AM

Germany did little to help Turkey in WWI...while Turkey was fighting the battles that Germany instigated. It might be nice if the Germans could step up and "be a man" as we say in America. Diminishing the rights of Jews and Turks seems to be all the German public is interested in. Germany now wants to halt circumcision, ignoring its health benefits and religious protocols. Who IS this Angela Merkel? And why does her party hate Turks and Jews? My advice to women is to NOT sleep with Germans!

Tevfik Alp

7/5/2012 5:33:42 AM

I wonder what is the real motive of the move?
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