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Command of SNMCMG2 to Transfer from Italy to Turkey during Erdek Port Visit

Erdek Naval Base, Turkey – This afternoon the Change of Command Ceremony (CoC) for the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG 2) took place in Erdek Naval Base, Turkey, with command of SNMCMG2 passing from Captain Giovanni Piegaja (Italian Navy) to Captain Ramazan Kesgin (Turkish Navy).

The MEKO-class Turkish Navy frigate TCG BARBAROS is the new flagship for the Group, with the mine hunter TCG ENEZ also currently attached.  Additional mine counter-measures vessels will join the Group in the near future.

"The Standing Maritime Groups are the backbone and the kernel of NATO’s Maritime Response Forces providing NATO with a continuous maritime capability for operations and other activities,” said MARCOM Deputy Chief of Staff Operations Commodore Arien Minderhoud. "NATO remains as ever fully committed to the defense of its member nations. I am sure Standing NATO Mine Counter Measures Group 2 will continue to remain as a visible assurance of NATO’s unity, cohesion and resolve.”

Since Italy assumed the command of SNMCMG2 in June 2014, the Group has operated in the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, the North Sea and the Atlantic in order to enhance NATO’s solidarity and readiness in these regions. The Group visited 25 ports, including Casablanca, Morocco, and Algiers, Algeria, in order to enhance interoperability and familiarity between naval partners. Throughout this deployment, SNMCMG2 participated in 8 major exercises and conducted historic disposal operations such as BENEFICIAL COOPERATION in the Netherlands.

"I am proud to hand over to my Turkish colleague SNMCMG2 that is ready for all naval tasks from mine warfare to more challenging operations" said Capt. Giovanni Piegaja. "I am sure we have completed our mission satisfactorily and contributed to NATO’s presence at sea by enhancing maritime security and assuring Allies of NATO’s solidarity and commitment to collective defence.”

Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group TWO (SNMCMG2), will continue its deployment by conducting various types of mine warfare trainings and exercises with navies as well as engaging in NATO’s counter-terrorism Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR.

"My staff and I have well prepared and ready for the tasks ahead. Likewise I am confident that the units in my group are highly professional and motivated” said Capt. Ramazan Kesgin, Commander SNMCMG2 "I am certain we all will do our best to fulfil the expectations of our NATO Allies and tackle the challenges lying ahead of us wherever they are.”

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