NATO ships in second Turkish-hosted drill this month

Following the conclusion of Turkish-led exercise Mavi Balina, ships from several NATO countries kicked off a mine-warfare exercise in the Aegean Sea on Monday, November 28.

The second Turkish exercise of the month will run through December 4 and will be aimed at testing combat readiness and strengthening ties between Allies.

Corvettes, patrol boats, mine hunters, fighter aircraft, and unmanned underwater vehicles will all be taking part in the event dubbed “Nusret”, after a famous Turkish mine layer.

During the annual exercise participants will test finding and neutralizing mines, using divers, sonar as well as remotely operated vehicles.

NATO has sent ships from Germany, Greece and Turkey to participate in the exercise. Other Allies are participating on a bilateral basis.

Bordering both Iraq and Syria, Turkey is the NATO Ally most exposed to the turmoil in the Middle East. In response to security challenges in the region, NATO has boosted the defence of Turkey, including air defence missile systems installed in 2013.

In December 2015, NATO decided on a further package of measures for Turkey – paving the way for more patrols by AWACS surveillance planes and increased naval presence in the Eastern Mediterranean.

“Turkey faces serious security challenges from many directions,” NATO spokesperson Oana Lungescu said. “NATO’s participation in the NUSRET exercise demonstrates Allies’ strong commitment to Turkey’s security, and contributes to increased stability in the region.”