Turkey hands over command of Somalia antipiracy force
Turkey has handed over the command of the counter-piracy international naval force CTF 151 to the Pakistani navy, Turkish Naval Forces announced on Dec. 18. Since 2009, Turkey has assumed command of the CTF 151 three times, most recently Sept. 19 to Dec. 13, 2012, the statement by the Naval Forces said. A handover ceremony was conducted on board a Turkish frigate, TCG Gemlik, which is currently in Bahrain, the statement said. Along the latest period of time under its command and as a result of operations conducted within the area of responsibility, no ship was hijacked, Turkish Naval Forces said, noting that it had been in close cooperation with naval forces elements of U.S., Australia, India, U.K., Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Romania, Singapore and Yemen during this time. CTF 151 was established in January 2009 to fight piracy in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean after a wave of hijackings off the coast of Somalia. It was launched by the U.S. as an international effort "specifically for counter-piracy operations." Pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia have dropped sharply this year, but piracy remains a viable "business model," the outgoing commander of the NATO mission said on Dec. 17.