World Bulletin / News Desk
Four Turkish warships have arrived in Mauritanian capital Nouakchott for the first stop of a Western African tour by the Barbaros Turkish Maritime Task Group.
The Turkish naval force includes two frigates, a corvette and a replenishment tanker.
At a Tuesday press conference at the Turkish embassy in Nouakchott, Rear Admiral Ali Murat Dede – task force commander – said the tour aimed to enhance Turkey's relations with African navies and conduct drills with a view to combatting maritime crime and piracy.
Stressing that the task force's mission was not only about military cooperation, Dede said the force would also conduct health examinations and provide medical assistance and food aid at various stops of the tour.
The naval commander described Turkish-Mauritanian military cooperation as "excellent," adding that the current tour aimed to further strengthen this cooperation.
Task force personnel were welcomed to the Mauritanian capital by Turkish Ambassador Musa Kulaklikaya and a host of Mauritanian government and military officials.
The task force will set out for Senegalese capital Dakar on Wednesday.
The 102-day tour, which will cover 15,000 nautical miles and include 27 countries, is scheduled to wrap up on June 27.
During the mission, Turkish naval forces will pass South Africa's Cape Point (Cape Town) for the first time since 1866.Last Mod: 02 Nisan 2014, 13:36