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Interview

Guardians of Deep Blue: Submarine Fleet Command

Unlike surface warships capable of movement and evasion maneuvers in two dimensions, submarines can operate and maneuver in a three-dimensional environment underwater. Being silent, covert, and serving as a surprise weapon, submarines stand out as the only naval asset capable of conducting independent operations even in enemy-controlled waters without the need for any support. Hence, submariners often highlight their superiority over other naval platforms by summarizing it as, `There are only two types of ships, submarines, and targets...` As asymmetric threats capable of providing maximum deterrence against the enemy, it wouldn`t be wrong to say that submarines will remain the dreaded nightmare of surface targets as long as the seas exist.

Date: Issue 128 - March 2024 Update: April 21, 2024

During the Ottoman Empire era, Turkish Submarining began with the 'Abdülhamit,' a submarine assembled in the Taşkızak Shipyard from parts brought in pieces from England. It was launched into the Golden Horn on September 6, 1886. The Turkish Submarine Fleet Command was established as an independent unit when the submarines TCG I. İnönü and TCG II. İnönü were connected to the Tahtelbahir (Submarine) Ships Command by order of Acting Fleet Commander Commander (CDR) Şükür OKAN in 1929. 

Looking at the history of Turkish Submarines, before the currently active AY Class (4x), PREVEZE Class (4x), and GÜR Class (4x) submarines, we see that a total of 39 submarines from 2 different countries, Sweden (built in the UK) and France (seized during World War I, formerly named Müstecip Onbaşı), were acquired until the Republic era. Additionally, after the Republic era, submarines were acquired from 5 different countries: the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These submarines served under the command of the Submarine Fleet Command until the end of their service lives. The AY Class (Type 209/1200) submarines, which are still in service and were designed and constructed through collaboration with Germany, began entering service in 1975. The first three submarines of the AY Class—TCG Atılay, TCG Saldıray, and TCG Batıray—were built in Germany, while the other three—TCG Yıldıray, TCG Doğanay, and TCG Dolunay—were constructed at the Gölcük Naval Shipyard Command.