Parliament on Thursday approved a government motion extending by a year the mandate of Turkish naval missions in the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea and the coastal waters off Somalia.
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. 15, 2015.
While the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) extended their support for the motion, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) announced that members of the party would vote against the motion.
Speaking on behalf of the government, Defense Minister ƒ∞smet Yƒ±lmaz said 20 percent of Turkey’s exports are shipped through the Gulf of Aden, which is why its security is important to Turkey. Saying that 179 pirates were handed over to NATO authorities by Turkish troops, Yƒ±lmaz also underlined that the activities of Turkish troops abroad are important for national interests.