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Turkish navy ships to stop in Sudan mid-June: embassy

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June 5, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The Turkish embassy in Khartoum announced that the Barbaros Turkish Maritime Task Group (Barbaros TMTG) will stop in Port Sudan later this month as part of visits to 24 African countries.

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"Starting from the west part of Africa, including the whole continent, Barbaros TMTG has been conducting training activities together with port visits to 24 African countries, including Sudan, as the last destination," the embassy said in a statement.

"During the port visit, joint health and military training programs will be conducted and some aid materials (school bags, stationery equipments, medical kits and wheel chairs) will be distributed. Cultural programs, janissary band-navy band performances and friendly sportive activities between the military teams will also take place".

The embassy noted that Barbaros TMTG has been activated by the Turkish Naval Forces between 17 March and 27 June 2014 "in order to demonstrate maritime presence at world seas, support the Turkish foreign policy and contribute to enhance bilateral relations with African countries as well as establish new relationships".

Since 2012, Port Sudan has become a regular stop for Iranian warships, drawing concern by the US and its allies in the Gulf. Khartoum insists that its relations with Iran are based on common interests and not intended to threaten the interests of the Arab Gulf states.

Iran says that In line with international efforts to combat piracy its Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008 to safeguard the vessels involved in maritime trade, especially the ships and oil tankers owned or leased by Tehran.

Turkish ships are also currently part of the NATO counter-piracy fleet in the Indian Ocean as part of a broader international effort to crack down on Somali-based pirates.

(ST)

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