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RAF Emergency Support To Turkey

Troops and equipment onboard a C-17 flying to Turkey from the UK earlier this week [Crown Copyright: Sgt Robert Weideman]

Three RAF aircraft are helping to deliver NATO’s package of emergency support to Turkey following the devastating earthquakes this month.

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Press Release, Whitehall, 17 February 2023: An RAF Atlas A400M and two C130 Hercules are transporting a NATO Operational Liaison and Reconnaissance Team (OLRT) from Italy to Turkey today (17 February). The UK is a leading contributor to NATO and the Defence Secretary was in Brussels this week for a meeting of the Alliance’s Defence Ministers, where support for Turkey was discussed, as well as our ongoing commitment to Ukraine.

The NATO OLRT includes twelve personnel, four Land Rovers with trailers, and pallets of equipment which are being deployed ahead of the larger NATO accommodation package announced by the NATO Secretary General yesterday, which will begin to arrive next week. The NATO package includes thousands of tents to provide shelter for those affected by the quake.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “We are committed to helping our close partner Turkey following the devastating earthquakes and have deployed flights, medics and aid to support the recovery efforts. We will continue to explore options for further support and I am in regular contact with my counterpart and friend Defence Minister Akar.”

The Ministry of Defence is supporting Turkey bilaterally with specialist medical assistance, alongside the FCDO. A critical care air support team and C130 transport aircraft has deployed to Turkey to transport patients from areas most impacted by the earthquake, and a UK Medical Treatment Facility has been set up in Turkoglu to treat hundreds of people.

The RAF has also flown over 15 tonnes of humanitarian aid and 81 tonnes of medical aid to the people of Turkey and Syria including thousands of thermal blankets and medical supplies, and £25 million in new funding to support the response was announced this week.

The UK also sent a team of 77 search and rescue experts with specialist equipment, as well as four rescue dogs, who worked day and night to help people affected by the earthquake. More UK flights are on standby should they be required by NATO and the UK will continue to contribute to the NATO Alliance’s support to Turkey.

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