One year ago, on March 15, we reported on the unlikely link between the tiny west African country of Gambia and Turkey which were establishing a logistical military assistance agreement. On April 3 this year, both countries decided to reinvigorate their military ties with the visit to the Port of Banjul of the Barbaros Turkish Maritime Task Group 2014.
The objectives of this year’s visit were to conduct operations in the oceans around Africa in line with Turkish foreign policy, conduct the first ever sail by Turkish Republic naval forces units through the Cape of Good Hope, improve current bilateral relations with African nations and to establish new ones, contribute to the safety of international sea lanes, support ongoing anti-piracy efforts, and conduct humanitarian assistance activities.
Speaking at a briefing on April 4, Navy Captain Ihsan Bakar, said the Turkish Navy was ready to exchange experience with their Gambian counterparts on maritime security and conduct bilateral trainings as well as participate in the “Vision 2020 of The Gambia”, outlined by President Jammeh.
“We will contribute to maritime security as well as the sea line of communications,” he told journalists, while indicating that they conducted a site visit to the Gambia’s naval base where they assessed its capabilities for support.
The first circumnavigation of Africa by Turks goes all the way back to 1866 when two Ottoman corvettes namely Bursa and Izmir, on their way to the Persian Gulf, departed from Istanbul in July 1866.
The Turkish Navy frigate TCG Orecrueis docked at the port of Banjul on April 3 with 200 personnel aboard in the country’s first naval visit to Gambia and departed on April 9.
Republished with permission from ADIT – The Bulletin.