Turkey has taken over the command of NATO’s high readiness force established against destabilising activities of Russia in Ukraine, the alliance announced.
“The Turkish army will take the lead of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) on Friday (1 January 2021), placing thousands of soldiers on standby, ready to deploy within days. Turkey takes over from Poland, which provided the core of the force in 2020,” a NATO statementreads.
In the VJTF, a part of the NATO Response Force, approximately 4,200 troops under Turkey’s 66th Mechanized Infantry Brigade Command, and a total of 6,400 soldiers will serve, including units from Albania, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, the UK, and the US.
“Turkey has made substantial investments into the unit – amongst the most mobile in NATO – particularly in its logistics and ammunition requirements planning,” the statement highlights.
Also, it informs that the latest models of Turkish armed vehicles, anti-tank missiles and howitzers have been allocated to the force.
About Very High Readiness Joint Task (VJTF)
NATO heads of state and government decided to create the VJTF at the Wales Summit in 2014 in response to a changed security environment, including Russia’s destabilisation of Ukraine and turmoil in the Middle East.
NATO members take turns heading the VJTF. Poland led the VJTF in 2020, Germany in 2019, and Italy had rotational control of the force in 2018.