NATO flexes muscles on terror in Med Sea

Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2), January 2, 2010

From Erdem Güneş, Hurriyet Daily News:  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. . . .

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. . . .

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. 

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