The Minister for Defence thanks the Spanish contingent in Turkey for their involvement in the earthquake relief effort

News - 2023.5.19

During the videoconference held at the headquarters of the Ministry of Defence, Robles was accompanied by the Chief of Defence Staff (JEMAD), Admiral General Teodoro López Calderón, and the Army Chief of Staff (JEME), Army General Amador Enseñat.

"I want to thank them for the effort and work they put in over those days. Your presence there was essential and fundamental," the minister told the head of the mission, which is part of NATO's 'Support Turkey' operation, Army Lieutenant Colonel José María Contreras.

The Spanish contingent was involved in aid to Turkey, principally carrying out humanitarian and logistical support activities in the wake of the earthquake that devastated mainly the south of the country and caused tens of thousands of deaths. Their work was key to the coordination and deployment of personnel and other national support means, such as the EMU, fire brigades and NGOs.

"Without you it would have been impossible", emphasised the minister, who announced that a collective act of congratulation would be held when the contingent returned to Spain "to thank you for your effort and your work". Yesterday, the Spanish mission took part in a Turkish Army reconnaissance of the different contingents that took part in the rescue work.

"We join in recognition of all the armed forces, given that personnel from the army, navy, air force, space forces and the UME took part, as well as civilians," stressed the head of the mission, who will return to Spain at the end of June.

Regarding the country's reconstruction plans, Lieutenant Colonel Contreras pointed out that housing construction processes have been set in motion in the most affected areas, the results of which will be visible "in the medium term".

"Symbolic" mission

Spain has maintained a Patriot Unit in Turkey since January 2015, as part of the NATO mission to reinforce the country's air defence capabilities, and specifically for the defence of the civilian population of Adana, a city of 2 million inhabitants 120 km from the Syrian border.

The Spanish unit is made up of 149 soldiers and is deployed at the Incirlik Air Base in Adana. The Minister for Defence stressed that this is a "particularly symbolic" mission and that its strategic work underlines Spain's commitment as a serious and responsible NATO ally.

Personnel from the 'Daedalus-23' Expeditionary Combat Group, which was deployed in the Mediterranean, also took part in the support to Turkey, as did personnel from the second Emergency Intervention Battalion (BIEM II) of the EMU.

Non official translation