Turkiye's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that the Turkish navy and coast guards have saved hundreds of thousands of lives on seas.
Erdogan attended the country's Blue Homeland military exercise via video conference from Presidential Complex in the capital Ankara.
Having a strong naval force is not a choice but a necessity for Turkiye, a country surrounded by seas on three sides, he noted.
"So, we attach importance to constantly improving our navy with equipment and personnel, to make the highest possible contribution to the homeland's defense," said Erdogan.
He added that Turkiye has the world's appreciation for its humanitarian, rescue, and aid operations from Ukraine to Libya across the world.
"With our Navy and Coast Guard, we have saved hundreds of thousands of lives from being lost in dark waters, while countries that consider themselves developed and modern were leaving refugees to die in the seas or even attempting to kill them by sinking their boats," he also said.
Blue Homeland 2022
The Blue Homeland military exercise continues in the Black Sea, Aegean, and Eastern Mediterranean with 122 ships and 41 aircraft.
Meanwhile, the first phase of distinguished observer activities of the Blue Homeland military exercise was completed on Thursday.
TCG Kemal Reis Frigate, with National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, force commanders, and attaches from 15 countries on board, was saluted by the TCG Salih Reis Frigate.
As part of the exercise, underwater defense teams, transferred by helicopter, jumped into the water and destroyed a mine.
For submarine defense activities, the Tuzla class patrol boat fired an anti-submarine warfare missile while maritime patrol aircraft carried out a torpedo attack on a submarine.
MILGEM class TCG Heybeliada and TCG Buyukada flagships conducted an underway replenishment drill with TCG Kemal Reis.
For the first time, an overwater target was hit with MAM-L smart ammunition from an armed UAV Aksungur which has entered the inventory of the naval forces this year.
In addition to Akar and force commanders, foreign representatives from the US, Australia, Azerbaijan, Czechia, the Philippines, Georgia, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Latvia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Senegal took part in the observer day.