Turkiye demonstrates its preparedness to lead NATO Response Force
The exercise started with port training and coordination meetings at Aksaz Naval Base Command. The operational readiness and force integration include surface, air, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), mine countermeasures, amphibious, hybrid, and force protection operations.NATO’s maritime strength lies in the ability of the Standing Forces and NRF elements to integrate rapidly with high readiness, high capability national forces and task groups.The media was invited yesterday to observe the ongoing drill. While the foreign press was interested in Turkish -Greek bitter relations, the military’s focus was the Alliance’s solidarity. The exercise is held with Russia’s attack on Ukraine in mind.The media followed the exercise at the Turkish Navy’s Bayraktar class Landing Ship Tank (LST) flagship TCG Sancaktar (L403). The press briefing was held at the vessel’s covered vehicle deck, where tanks are deployed.According to information provided by the Turkish Navy, the exercise is being held regularly, and more than 50 ships of member countries, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Spain, Türkiye, and 1,500 military personnel participated in the exercise.The first sequence for media was a vertical replenishment of a Gür Class submarine on the surface from a helicopter. An S-70B Seahawk helicopter from Turkish Maritime Force (TURMARFOR) demonstrated its capacity twice.The second demonstration topic was about special forces’ boarding operations. The personnel boarded TCG Alemdar, which mimics a hostile vessel via helicopter hovering on the top of the ship.Anti-Air warfare operations were carried out at the third phase of the drill. TCG Alemdar was the point of the attack where surrounding ships provided her air defence against aggressor Turkish F-16 Block 40.Lastly, mailbag transfer between USS Forrest Sherman and TCG Barbaros was conducted while cruising.Rear Admiral Scott Sciretta, a U.S. Navy officer who participated in the exercise, said, “This exercise proves that our allies are ready for all kinds of attacks and threats.”On the other hand, the Rear Admiral of the Turkish Navy, Hüseyin Tığlı, answered questions about current Turkish-greek tension and the purpose of the exercise. The commander of TURMARFOR said that the training was introduced to show NATO’s right to collective self-defence. He underlined that the Greek Navy participates in the exercise.Vice Admiral Paul Martin Bennett, a former senior Royal Navy officer, was also on board on behalf of NATO as a mentor. He shared his vision about TURMARFOR, indicating that a fantastic job was carried out.