ISLAMABAD, Nov 22 (APP): A Pakistani battleship opened its doors to Anadolu Agency Tuesday, with its senior officer expressing his pride at taking part in military exercises in Turkey.
For the exercises, Pakistan’s PNS Alamgir is anchored at Turkey’s naval base in the southwestern province of Mugla, with access to the Mediterranean.
Pakistani Coast Guard Adm. Waseem Akram told Anadolu Agency that they were extremely proud to take part in the Blue Whale – 2016 Invitation Exercises, which conclude on Novemebr 28, according to a report published by Turkish news agency Anadolu on its website.
Hosted by the Turkish Naval Forces, the nine-day exercises involve NATO, U.S., Bulgarian, Pakistani, and Romanian naval forces training in the eastern Mediterranean.
The aim of the exercises is supporting the operations of the joint forces and their mission readiness, coordinated anti-submarine warfare, and submarine and naval air operation training.
“We always see Turkey as our second home. Turkey is very important for the Pakistani people. I graduated from the Turkish Staff Academy. That’s why I love Turkey,” said Akram.
Akram also stressed the importance of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Pakistan last week for strengthening bilateral ties.
“I hope our close friendship will continue for many years. We always want Turkey be strong. Because if our friend is strong, we feel strong too,” said the admiral.
Cmdr. Imtiaz Ali, the Alamgir’s captain, also said that Pakistani participation in the exercise will boost bilateral relations.
“Turkish and Pakistani sailors are in constant contact with each other and enjoy close relations,” he said.
He added that the Pakistani and Turkish naval forces support each other in such areas as military exercises, training, consultancy, and ship-building.
Ali also thanked the Turkish people and officials for their warm hospitality.
Lt. Cmdr. Zia ur Rehman, the Alamgir’s C.O., praised Turkey, saying his “best years” were in Istanbul in 1997-2002, during his training at the Turkish Naval Academy.
“I have beautiful memories here. I still get together with my classmates,” Rehman said.
Launched in the U.S. state of Florida in 2010, the PNS Alamgir frigate, which is a part of Pakistan’s destroyer fleet, is visiting Turkey for the third time.