Speaking during a press conference held at Banjul ports where the vessel docked last Thursday, he said: “In the previous port visits we conducted bilateral trainings in other countries. We gave some training to the unions in Tunisia and Mauritania and we have exchanged experiences on Maritime Security issues. During our sailing period we would also contribute to the security of the sea line of communication. The incidence of piracy is frequent in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We are ready to share experiences on this particular issue of Maritime Security. We also conducted bilateral trainings with the Gambian Navy. We had a tour in the Gambia Naval base. We have also seen the capabilities in place. We understand how we could give support to the Gambia Ports in fire fighting trainings internally and also combat damage exercises. We are all ready for that. We have a specialised team together with us, particularly specialised in boarding exercises. We are very pleased to be here to give naval support to the Gambian Navy.”
For his parts, Lieutenant Hamdullah Bayrak said their work would not be merely restricted to strengthening military ties and capabilities but also extend to humanitarian intervention, noting: “We will contribute to the safety of sea line of communication and conduct humanitarian assistance activities. We will support African nations’ capacity building efforts in Maritime Security. We will demonstrate the acquired capabilities and capacities of the Turkish Naval Forces.
“This is the very first visit to Banjul by the Turkish navy. With this port visit we hope to improve already great Turkish-Gambian relations. We brought greetings and best wishes from Turkey.”
Further dilating the aim of the visit he said it is, among many other things, to support anti-piracy efforts in Africa by participating in the on-going anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden. He added that they would be conducting operations in the oceans around Africa in line with Turkish Foreign Polic as they conducted the first ever sail by Turkish Republic Naval Forces Units in Africa since 1866 through Cape Of Good Hope..
Their mission also aims to improve current bilateral relations with African countries and to establish new ones. The first circumnavigation of Africa by the Turks goes all the way back to 1866. Two corvettes on their way to the Persian Gulf, departed from Istanbul in July and conducted port calls to Rio de Janeiro in August, Cape Town in September and finally reached Persian Gulf in December 1866
This latest attempt and circumnavigation of Africa commenced on the 17th of March and concludes June 27th.
By Alagie Manneh]]>