Turkish Navy has supported Standing NATO Maritime Group-2 (SNMG-2) and Standing NATO MCM Group-2 (SNMCMG-2) by assigning units since their inception. SNMG-2 is the successor of NATO’s Standing Naval Force Mediterranean (STANAVFORMED) which was activated on 30 April 1992, in Naples, Italy, to provide a continuous maritime presence. It also serves as constant and visible reminder of the solidarity and cohesiveness of the Alliance. STANAVFORMED was the successor of NATO Naval On-Call Force Mediterranean (NAVOCFORMED) which had been periodically activated biannually for twenty years.
Turkish Navy has assumed the command of the Group four times since its inception, including the very first command. Capt. Lütfü SANCAR was the first commander of STANAVFORMED. He assumed the command of the Group on 30 April 1992 for one year period. Then Rear Admiral (LH) Feyyaz ÖĞÜTÇÜ, from 6 September 1999 to 15 September 2000, and Rear Admiral (LH) Sinan ERTUĞRUL, from 5 July 2007 to 4 July 2008 assumed the command of the Group Currently, the command of SNMG2 is held by Rear Admiral (LH) Sinan Azmi TOSUN with TCG GIRESUN as his flagship.
SNMCMG-2 was activated in La Spezia/ITALY on 26 May 2001, which marked the 50th annivarsary of NATO’s foundation. On 1 January 2005, when new names and missions were allocated to NATO’s maritime Immediate Reaction Forces to make them part of the NRF, the Group assumed its role as Standing NRF MCM Group-2. Finally in 2007, the Group’s name has been changed to Standing NATO MCM Group-2. The first commander of the Group was assumed by Italy, and the first Chief of Staff by Turkey.
Turkish Navy has assumed the command of the Group three times. Capt. Niyazi ŞENOL, from 14 May 2001 to 3 May 2002, and Capt. Ertuğrul GÖKTUNALI, from 2 June 2006 to 5 June 2007, assumed the command of the Group. Currently, the command of SNMCMG2 is held by Capt. Abdülhamit ŞENER with TCG S.MEHMET PAŞA as his flagship. In addition to the command and control ship, Turkish Navy also provided a mine hunter ship, TCG AKÇAKOCA, in support of the Group.
Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR” was initiated as part of NATO’s maritime contribution to the fight against terrorism, in the aftermath of 11 September 2001 attacks. The operation is supported by 2-3 frigates provided by member countries or by SNMG-1 and SNMG-2, in a rotational basis with surge operations.
Turkish Navy contributes to OAE through SNMG-2, which continuously includes a Turkish frigate. Besides SNMG-2, Turkish Navy allocates a standby corvet/fast patrol boat in four hour notice to move in Izmir. Furthermore, for specific periods, the operation is supported with one frigate, one oiler and one submarine. Having a geographically central position in the operation area, Aksaz and Mersin Naval Bases provide logistic support to the units participating in OAE.
In October 2008, at request of the United Nations, SNMG2 was deployed off the Somali coast to conduct Operation ALLIED PROVIDER, to deter, defend and protect World Food Program (WFP) vessels against the threat of piracy and armed robbery. Until 12 December 2008, SNMG-2 provided close protection to WFP chartered ships. Turkish Navy supported Operation ALLIED PROVIDER with a frigate assigned to SNMG-2.
In June 2009, after a decision by the NATO Defence Ministers to resume anti-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa and in the Gulf of Aden, SNMG2 was tasked to deploy to the operational area to conduct Operation OCEAN SHIELD. Participation of NATO standing forces in this counter piracy operation continues on a rotational basis for six-month periods.
Turkish Navy steadily supports Operation Ocean Shield with one frigate assigned to SNMG-2 and staff officers on board flagships. During the periods that SNMG-2 is not deployed to the Horn of Africa and Gulf of Aden, Turkish Navy’s contribution to the counter piracy efforts in the region continues with the assignment of one frigate under CTF 151 command.