Joint patrol of Turkish and English troops

2Lt. Ozgur Cuce
First published June 16, 2003

Turkish and English SFOR Troops conducted a joint patrol between Maglaj and Banja Luka from May 14-16, 2003 in order to maintain a safe and secure environment in the area. It was also the opportunity for them to exchange their personal knowledge and ideas, and thus to improve their experience.

Banja Luka - Prior to the patrol, 1Lt. Suyra, S-3 Operations Officer gave a lecture about the general characteristics of the area. During a second briefing on the socio-economic situation of the area given in Bjalejce Military Base, Capt. Michael Chant, BN S-2 Officer reported that the most important problem in the area was the unemployment, underlining that the percentage of the unemployment reached up to 40%.

The Patrol
Among the UK troops conducting the joint patrol were Maj. Naylor, Company commander, Capt. Gurung, his deputy, 2Lt. Suyra, 2Lt. Sumbhadur and 2Lt. Bomhayara, the platoon leaders. The first patrol was a daylight patrol with one Land Rover car. During the patrol, soldiers talked to the people of local population and asked them about their problems in the area. The common complain that people expressed was the unemployment, since it is the source of all problems. The common hope in people's heart and mind was to find those old days of wealth and peace before the war. During one particular house visit, an 84-year old Bosnian man who could speak a few Turkish words greeted Turkish 1Lt. Bilal Azca. Troops visited a shoe-making factory as well as houses, and listened to all problems.
Following dinner in the base, a night patrol started. During the patrol, troops visited and checked the restaurants and pubs on Gull Route.

All for Peace and Stabilisation
Gurung stated that working with the officers of other SFOR Nations was a really good chance for them to exchange knowledge and experiences. He also mentioned that all troops in BiH were acting as a single body, a single force. In addition, Turkish 1Lt. Bilal Azca said: "All those patrols and studies are for the people of the area. By means of these joint patrols and other activities, we want to create a permanent peaceful atmosphere and ensure the stability of the area. But we cannot achieve our mission without public co-operation. We, SFOR, and the local population of the area can do this together."

Related links:
Nations of SFOR: Turkey, UK

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Photos: Courtesy of Turkish Battalion Task Force

1Lt. Azca offers a Turkish Flag to Brig. Gen. Monroe as a gift and a sign of brotherhood between the troops.

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During the joint patrols, troops visited and chatted with the local leaders of the area. Turkish troops take them as their eyes and mouths in a very large area of responsibility, and pay great attention to them.

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British and Turkish soldiers make the moments of brotherhood and co-operation unforgettable by shooting photos.

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At the end of the joint patrols, as sign of the pleasure they had during the patrols, troops gave Certificates of Appreciation to each other, hoping those patrols will be repeated in the future.