An Assessment On the Developments Affecting The Current State And Shaping The Future Of Turkish Nava

At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, as everyone may easily notice,

Issue 24 - December 2010

In this period, we encounter the exponential increase in the world population against the rapid consume of natural resources, which is a vital problem. I would like to stress that today there are more 1 billion people starving in the world and this figure is continuously increasing; and hundreds of thousands of people illegally immigrate to prosperous Europe, moving in the south-north axis in Africa and in the east-west axis in Asia just to reach a haven that they will feed themselves.
Furthermore, I believe that the unjust sharing and exploitation of energy resources is the basic reason of regional and global instabilities.
Today the %20 of world population consume the %62 of the produced energy while 1,6 billion people have no means to reach any energy sources. In 20 years, it is estimated that total energy demand will increase %50; %23 in the most developed and %100 in developing countries. Thus, serious struggles occur to possess and freely supply energy resources in the face of accelerating global energy demand. In this regard, energy security has gained precedence with its global implications, especially in our region.
So, in today’s conjuncture where the imbalances in regional security and stability result in global consequences and the security dimension of the future world begins to shape in the surrounding of our country, Turkey’s geo-strategic position and geopolitical situation has gained significance.
The sea lines of communications heading westward and eastward from Eurasia, which turned into a geopolitical center in the wake of Cold War and has become an energy center today, transit through our areas of maritime jurisdiction and interest in the surrounding seas.
Turkish Navy’s primary mission of securing and protecting maritime relevance and interests in these delicate and vital areas dictates to have and sustain a powerful sea force effectively.
The accomplishment of the missions and the undertaking the responsibilities of Turkish Navy in relation with defense and security could only be possible by gaining the capabilities that will enable the forward and preemptive engagement against risk and threats, and by establishing the doctrines to use these capabilities.
In this context, I would like to state that all my staff and I have showed our greatest efforts to further this heritage, Turkish Naval Forces, which our predecessors created with incredible and overwhelming efforts against all the burdens and entrusted to our safekeeping, through the abovementioned goals.
In this period, while staying always ready for the potential crises, which may emanate and progress rapidly in our maritime areas of jurisdiction and interest by conducting exercises and trainings in our annual schedule, we continue supporting Turkey’s foreign policy aiming at global peace, stability and security effectively, in accordance with our assigned mission.
In line with our principle that the establishment of regional peace and stability constitutes the greatest contribution to global peace, we are constantly furthering our involvement in the activities and initiatives towards this endeavor. As regards, Turkish Navy has activated Turkish Maritime Task Group for the first time in its history in addition to current operations, which are;
 Operation Blacksea Harmony (OBSH),
 Blacksea Naval Cooperation Task Group (BLACKSEAFOR),
 Operation Mediterranean Shield (OMS),
 United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL),
 Anti Piracy Operations (CTF-151) in Aden and Somalia Basin,
 Operation Active Endeavour,
 NATO Standing Maritime Groups (SNMG-2, SNMCMG-2).
Among these initiatives, as a very effective tool, which enables constructive consultation and cooperation among the Black Sea littorals and contributes at a great scale to the enhancement of Black Sea regional peace and stability since 2001, the better use of BLACKSEAFOR’s potential bears great importance. In this context, as a result of Turkey’s leadership and initiatives, two High Level Executive Group (HLEG) Meetings were held last year. The decisions taken in these meetings related to the better use of BLACKSEAFOR’s potential were also agreed in the Black Sea Naval Commanders Committee, and thus the process has gained momentum.
Furthermore, our initiatives for the representation of BLACKSEAFOR, which has gained experience, introduced itself and proved its potential for 10 years, with its institutional identity in various platforms have also been approved by Black Sea Naval Commanders Committee. Soon we will begin to see BLACKSEAFOR in international symposia, meetings and conferences with its institutional identity more frequently.
While the BLACKSEAFOR will be completing the tenth year of its establishment, the year 2011 will also constitute an important milestone in the process of institutionalism. In this context, the planning of celebration activities for the 10th year anniversary is in progress in the lead of Turkey. By the celebration activities of 10th year anniversary of BLACKSEAFOR next year, I think, once more, we will be able to display the rapprochement of littoral states, depending on mutual cooperation and solidarity, which enabled Black Sea to be one of the most secure seas of the world.
At this point, I would like to mention the piracy issue, which is an important subject in the world’s and our agendas for a few years, and our contributions to the activities to suppress piracy. Since 2006, there is a significant increase in the piracy incidents all around the world, especially in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, Persian Gulf and Somalia Basin.
Although the piracy incidents seems regional, taking into account that approximately 30.000 ships navigate through Suez Canal, the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, and these transits amounts more than %10 of global trade and more than %20 of global oil exports, it is obvious that these incidents have national and global dimensions. In this regard, this region bears importance for Turkish maritime trade as it does for world maritime trade.
To be more precise, a portion exceeding 40 billion US dollars of total Turkish trade, which amounted about 250 billion US dollars in 2009, is conducted using the maritime sea lines of communications in this region. For the protection of such a valuable interest, operating under the framework of UNSC and Grand National Assembly of Turkey Resolutions, our frigates operate within the task forces established in the area the leadership of USA and NATO, thus contributing directly to the maritime security of our country’s export and import.
On the other hand, the command of Combined Task Forces-151, which was executed between 03 May-13 August 2009 by a Turkish admiral, will be again assumed by a Turkish admiral between 01 September-01 December 2010.
Furthermore, it is planned that the Turkish Maritime Task Group which has been established this year for the first time in our history, will be deployed to Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Somalia Basin and Indian Ocean for a period of three months to participate in the activities against piracy. In this way, I would like to stress that our contributions to global struggle with piracy will be far more than the previous years.
On the other hand, we attach utmost importance to cooperation and bilateral relations in order to support global peace and stability. In this respect, activities are conducted with many navies such as USA, Germany, Azerbaijan, Albania, Bulgaria, France, Georgia, England, Spain, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Romania, Tunisia, Ukraine, Greece and Pakistan. I gladly state that organizing the first Navy-to-Navy staff talks with Albania, Japan and Tunisia in 2010 has developed our relations.
In furthering our relations with other navies and creating cooperation opportunities, high-level visits also have an important role. I expect that the visits of the commanders of the Australian and Russian Naval Forces to Turkey, and the visits I have had the opportunity to perform to India and Japan, will create productive results in this manner.
As an institution with the principle of continuous progress, Turkish Naval Forces reforms its command structure to reach a more flexible and effective organization in accordance with the operational needs and the new platforms to be commissioned in the near future.
The swift conduct of modernization and advanced weapons/systems procurement programmes is of vital importance for sustaining our Naval Forces’ deterrence, equipped with superior systems.
The lessons learned from the past had proved us that having a powerful and capable Navy by using national capabilities depends not only on the imported weapons but on the national industrial capacity combined with science and technology. Having these in mind, as Turkish Naval Forces, we feel enthusiasm for both continuing the on-going projects and initiating the new ones.