Turkey extends naval presence off Somali coast


Turkish Parliament has approved a government-sponsored motion to extend the presence of Turkish navy in the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and the coastal waters off Somalia for one year.

The motion, first approved in 2009, extends for another year the Turkish Naval Forces’ mandate to participate in NATO’s international anti-piracy mission Operation Ocean Shield to prevent pirates from hijacking foreign ships in the Gulf of Aden and off the Somali coast, where commercial vessels are often taken over by pirates. The motion will expire on Feb. 10, 2016.

While the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) extended their support for the motion, the lawmakers leveled criticisms against the government for its what they said “misguided” foreign policy.

MHP Ankara deputy Özcan Yeniçeri, who spoke on behalf of this party, said they attach importance to the navy’s role in important regions. Yeniçeri, however, described the government’s foreign policy as “strategic blindness,” referring to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s book on foreig policy conduct, Strategic Depth. Yeniçeri said the current situation on the foreign policy front is a cause for concern and that policies that don’t fit in the realities of history and geography has no future.

CHP Deputy Chairman Faruk Loğoğlu characterized Turkey’s foreign policy as “wandering in an imagined world,” criticizing the government’s policies in Egypt and Syria. He said Turkey has been promoting violence in Egypt while its Assad-obsessed policies in Syria was misguided.


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