Turkey, Egypt set to hold navy drills in eastern Med
ANKARA / CAIRO
The joint Turkish-Egyptian navy exercise has been called ‘Sea of Friendship.’ DHA photo
The navies of Turkey and Egypt will conduct a joint exercise between Oct. 7 and 14 in the eastern Mediterranean, the Turkish navy announced as President Mohamed Morsi addressed a large crowd to highlight his achievements in his first 100 days in office.
The exercise, called “Sea of Friendship” (Bahr al-Sadaka), will be hosted by Egypt. The Turkish Naval Forces will participate in the exercise with two frigates, two fast attack craft, one replenishment tanker, two landing ships, one marine infantry company, two helicopters and one special forces team. The navies of the two countries held the Sea of Friendship exercise last year, too.
The event aims to develop mutual cooperation and interoperability between the two navies.
The exercise will come after Egypt’s new president strongly defended his performance in his first 100 days in office, speaking to a crowd of tens of thousands at Cairo’s largest sports stadium on Oct. 6.
Morsi presented his achievements since he took power in late June as Egypt’s first freely elected president, facing down criticism that little has been achieved even as he acknowledged that his administration has not fulfilled all of his promises and that much work lies ahead, the Associated Press reported.
Critics, however, say Morsi has not accomplished as much as he could have since winning elections and accuse the president’s Muslim Brotherhood-backed party of mimicking the former regime by going after critics and stuffing government posts with loyalists. Oct. 6’s event, which included a military parade as part of a ceremony to mark the anniversary of Egypt’s 1973 war with Israel, was also a show of force for the Brotherhood, the Islamist movement that has emerged as the country’s most powerful political group. In his speech, Morsi acknowledged that he has not fully delivered on key promises to fix Egypt’s garbage problem, its traffic problems and energy crisis. But he said many of the basic issues he set out to fix first in his first 100 days in office – which ended yesterday – such as reducing Cairo’s notoriously snarled traffic, have shown improvement.
Morsi said he had achieved 70 percent of his goals. Egypt has asked the International Monetary Fund for a $4.8 billion loan to help bolster the economy, and officials said the IMF had asked Egypt to restructure its subsidies system as one of the prerequisite for the loan.
He also reiterated that he would abide by Islamic banking laws and not accept interests on the loan, telling the cheering crowd that “we’ll go hungry before we eat off of interest.” He also said his government had cracked down on a “mafia” of officials working in the Petroleum Ministry who were siphoning off millions of dollars in corrupt deals.
“We were in a phase where there was a lot of corruption. We want this corruption to stop,” Morsi
said. “We will uncover all corruption,” he vowed, Agence France-Presse reported.