13 Oct 14
Turkish Army to Train Montenegrin Troops
Montenegro has hailed a military deal with Turkey which will mean soldiers from the small Balkan country getting extra training at top Turkish military academies.
Montenegro is planning to conclude a five-year military agreement with Turkey involving the joint training of troops and military exercises.
Montenegrin soldiers will be able to attend Turkish military schools and academies and also “training courses for underwater attacks and defence” as well as training for commandos, the draft, which BIRN has seen, says.
A NATO member since 1952, Turkey is also one of the most powerful member states of the alliance. It has an active military strength of around 623,000 personnel, almost the same size as the total population in Montengro.
Montenegro’s tiny army has fewer than 2,000 troops. But the country has certain climactic and geographical conditions that make it useful for air, sea and land military training exercises.
Montenegro and Turkey have had no significant military cooperation in the past outside joint NATO programs and military exercises.
The Chief of the General staff, Admiral Dragan Samardzic, said future military cooparation with Turkey would be a great opportinity for Montenegro.
More intense military co-operation was envisaged under an agreement on training, techniques, and science betwean the two countries signed in April, he recalled.
“The new contract opens up the possibility for free education and professional development of members of the Army of Montenegro at prestigious Turkish military academies and centres,” Admiral Samardzic told BIRN.
One of the first counries to recognize Montenegro’s independence, days after the independence referendum in May 2006, Turkey’s interest in Balkan country has grown over the years.
The Turkish Cooperation Agency, TIKA, was established in 2007 in Montenegro and has invested more than 6 million euros so far.
Turkey’s Gintas Company has also constructed a modern shopping complex and a hotel in Podgorica, in a major investment worth over 50 million euros.
Although the Turkish minority in Montenegro is small, Ankara takes an interest in the wider Muslim community, which, including Bosniaks and Albanians, comprises 19 per cent of the population.
Over the past five years, Turkish institutions have donated tens of millions of euros for the establishment of Islamic primary and secondary schools in Montenegro and have financially supported the construction of mosques in the towns of Ulcinj and Rozaje.
Source: Balkan Insight (Montenegro)