CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo (March 19, 2010) -- The nation of Turkey officially has joined Multi-National Battle Group-East in the overall mission to provide safety and security and freedom of movement anytime and anywhere in Kosovo.

Senior leaders of MNBG-E and the Turkish forces in Kosovo met at Camp Bondsteel March 9 to sign documents making Turkey a part of the battle group. MNBG-E now comprises Soldiers from the nations of Greece, Poland, Ukraine, Turkey and the United States.

"It is with great pleasure that we welcome Turkey to Multi-National Battle Group-East," said Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann, commander of MNBG-E. "Turkey will bolster our operational capabilities and our overall mission readiness and help us provide safety and security throughout our area of responsibility."

Turkey will be moving a company-size unit from Multi-National Battle Group-South to Camp Bondsteel in mid-March. The Turkish troops will serve as a maneuver unit in the MNBG-E area of operations. Some Turkish Soldiers will also work with the Regional Liaison Monitoring Team in the Gjilan/Gnjilane area.

In their meeting March 9, Turkish and American officials discussed the timeline for the Turkish troops' arrival at Camp Bondsteel and the details of getting them settled here, from housing Soldiers, to moving in equipment, to setting up phones and computers.

The first step for the Turkish contingent once they reach Camp Bondsteel will be to take part in an intense area familiarization program in which the Turks will work together with American and Ukrainian forces to learn about the MNBG-E area of operations and mission.

Turkey's move to MNBG-E is part of the "Deterrent Presence" phase taking place within KFOR. KFOR, through its five Battle Groups, is transitioning to a more mobile, flexible and agile force, capable of providing quick and decisive support to institutions in Kosovo, such as the KP and EULEX, if needed.

The changes are in response to the ever-improving security situation throughout Kosovo, brought about by the hard work and cooperation of the citizens and institutions in Kosovo, officials said.

Under Deterrent Presence, military forces throughout Kosovo have been adjusted from 14,000 to a total force size of 10,000, by order of the North Atlantic Council, the civilian body that oversees NATO.