NATO's vessels dropped anchor at İstanbul’s Sarayburnu port on February 19. NATO Commander Mike Utley has made a statement regarding the two vessels, 'TCG Gaziantep' and 'HMS Duncan', running within the mission of 'Standing NATO Maritime Group 2'.
As NATO vessels harboured at İstanbul’s Bosphorus strait, Mike Utley has said that the vessels are situated for assistance in the highest level of preparation in response to military or any other crises.
'TO STOP IMMIGRANTS EN ROUTE TO EUROPE'
Saying that the NATO vessels' second task is to stop illegal immigration, Utley has said, "Illegal human traffickers say that maritime is the best way for the immigrants to reach Europe. Unfortunately, this is not secure. Many immigrants pay this idea with their lives."
Utley has argued that NATO shares its opinions and increases the safety of seas during such visits, and continued, "We are cooperating in order to prevent the immigrants from escaping en route to Europe. Our role is to detect and ban such illegal activities with the aim of increasing the safety of seas. The final role is to carry out such visits and protect the allies."