Is the Turkish Navy able to support Ankara’s goals?

Anastassios Tsiplacos - South East Med Energy & Defense Analyst

Ankara is realizing that almost all Eastern Mediterranean countries are acting in coordination in support of Nicosia on the issue of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In an apparent bid to entrench what it sees as its rights in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, it has reserved an area stretching south from the Aegean island of Rhodes to the western coast of Cyprus to explore for oil and gas.

Cyprus’ President Nicos Anastasiades likened Turkey’s actions to a second
“Attila ’74” invasion

Furthermore, dispatched the “Fatih” drilling rig on Friday morning from its southern port of Antalya, with three support vessels and a frigate in the direction of a sea area 60 kilometers off the western coastal city of Paphos within Cyprus’ continental shelf, in violation of island nation’s sovereign rights, as well as the marine seismographic surveyship “Barbaros” south of Limassol, rising the tensions in the region.

According to a navigational telex (Navtex) 549/19 Turkey reports on seismic surveys in the region by “Barbaros” and the accompanying vessels “TANUX-1” and “APOLLOMOON”, which will run until July 31, 2019. A day after this announcement, Ankara followed up with a second Navtex concerning the “Fatih” that will conduct exploratory activities southwest of an area where, according to Athens and Nicosia, the continental shelves of Greece and Cyprus meet. However, it remained unclear on Friday whether the “Fatih” will begin operations in this specific area or somewhere nearby. The point at which drilling will take place is considered to be an indication of Turkey clearly challenging the view of Athens and Nicosia that the Greek and Cypriot EEZs are adjacent.

Nonetheless, experienced observers have speculated that the absence of specialist crews and the requisite technical capabilities onboard the Turkish drillship are an indication that no substantial results should be expected from Ankara’s exploratory activities, which have placed both Greece and Cyprus on edge. Bearing this in mind, Turkey’s moves are seen more as a gradual effort to entrench its demands in the region and to test the resolve of parties with interests in Cyprus’ EEZ, such the United States, Israel, Egypt, Greece, France and Italy.

The international reactions

Turkey’s moves were immediately answered diplomatically by the Cypriot Foreign Ministry. “Legal, political and diplomatic actions have already been put in motion, taking advantage of all the possibilities and especially within the framework of the European Union,” was the initial reaction, while an announcement issued later by the Cyprus FM stressed that Turkey’s provocative action is a serious violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus under international and E.U. law.

“At the same time, it reveals Turkey’s real intentions with regard to the Cyprus issue, but also explains why Ankara rejected the proposal for an informal Crans Montana-like meeting to discuss the Cyprus issue. It was precisely in this context that the UN Security Council recently stressed the need to avoid actions that negatively affect the attempt to resume talks. The Republic of Cyprus, aware of the intentions of Turkey, has taken and is taking all appropriate steps to deal with the situation as a Member State of the European Union and the United Nations, and as a State playing an active role in the Eastern Mediterranean region,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Also at a diplomatic level, Nicosia is not expected to sit with its hands crossed. Moves are already being made, while sources point out that the Cypriot Foreign Minister is expected to put all the relevant issues to French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian when they meet in Paris. With the Cypriot FM’s entire schedule not yet finalized, it is considered certain that he will also meet with TOTAL’s Director of North Africa and Middle East, Stephan Michel. During his meetings, he is also expected to discuss the Cyprus issue and matters concerning the relations and cooperation between Cyprus and France, including France’s participation in the tripartite scheme formed by Cyprus, Greece and Egypt.

On its part, the Greek Foreign Ministry also urged Turkey to“…immediately stop its illegal activities, to respect the inalienable rights of the sovereign Republic of Cyprus that it exercises for the benefit of the whole Cypriot people and to refrain from further actions that undermine stability in the region, as well as resuming talks on a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem.”

In a strong statement, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus calls the decision “…highly provocative” that risks raising tensions in the region. “The United States is deeply concerned by Turkey’s announced intentions to begin offshore drilling operations in an area claimed by the Republic of Cyprus as its Exclusive Economic Zone…We urge Turkish authorities to halt these operations and encourage all parties to act with restraint,” Ortagus said Sunday.

The E.U. reacted by calling on Turkey not to drill in the Cypriot EEZ. “We are deeply concerned about Turkey’s intention to drill in the Cyprus Exclusive Economic Zone. In March 2018, the European Council strongly condemned Turkey’s illegal activities in the eastern Mediterranean,” said EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

With a strong announcement, Egypt reacted to the presence of the Turkish drill in the Cypriot EEZ as well as to Ankara’s intention to carry out drilling activity. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry warned against any unilateral actions affecting security and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean region, highlighting the need for commitment to the rules and provisions of international law. “This provocative action by Turkey constitutes a blatant violation of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus in accordance with the International Law and the Law of the European Union,” an announcement reads.

The Israeli Ambassador to Cyprus Sammy Revel has expressed its support for Nicosia following Turkey’s decision to begin drilling operations within Cyprus’ EEZ. “Israel is following with serious concern recent steps taken by Turkey in Cyprus EEZ, off its western coast. Israel reiterated its full support and solidarity with Cyprus in exercising its sovereign rights in its EEZ and expresses its opposition to any attempt to violate these rights,” Revel wrote on Twitter. There is, however, concern about Israel’s attitude, which hit the offices of the “Anadolu” state-run Turkish agency in Gaza, a development that rekindles tension between Ankara and Tel Aviv.

France called on Ankara to avoid provocative actions and reiterated its support to the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus. In a communiqué issued by the French Foreign Ministry, on the occasion of the visit of Cypriot Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides to Paris, it is stated that once Turkey announces that it will conduct drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, part of which covers the Republic of Cyprus EEZ, France reaffirms its continued commitment to respect for international maritime law and the sovereignty of Cyprus.

Italy is following developments related to Turkish activities in the Eastern Mediterranean with concern, Italian Ambassador in Nicosia Andrea Cavallari sstated, adding that his country’s position on this issue is in line with the statement made by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. Invited to a question by
Cyprus News Agency, Cavallari said that “…we are following the developments with concern. We are in contact with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with embassies of EU countries in Cyprus.”

The UK is following developments in the Eastern Mediterranean with concern, a spokesperson of the U.K. High Commission in Cyprus, commenting Turkey`s intention to conduct drilling activities within the Cyprus’ EEZ. “We are following developments with concern. We are in close touch with governments of Cyprus and Turkey. We wish to see the situation deescalated.” he added. Asked if the U.K. agrees with the E.U. High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini’s statement on the issue, he replied: “Yes, the U.K. agrees with the High Representative’s position on the issue.”

“The Russian Foreign Ministry is deeply concerned about information that the situation in the Eastern Mediterranean is escalating. We firmly believe that any economic activity must comply with the rules of international law. We call for no action to be taken which could cause tension and create additional obstacles to the settlement of the Cyprus issue.” Moscow’s neutral stance on developments rather encourages Turkey.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is monotiring developments following Turkey`s decision to send ships for drilling operations around Cyprus with concern, his spokeperson Stéphane Dujarric has said, adding that “…the Secretary-General urges efforts to be made to reduce tensions.”

Ankara’s stern reaction

Ankara replied, through its Foreign Ministry, to the US and says the State Department’s announcement “…has nothing to do with real events” and calls on Washington not to interfere with developments as a third country. Furthermore, speaking at the North Atlantic Council Mediterranean Dialogue meeting in Ankara Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he expects NATO to support his country’s rights in the Eastern Mediterranean and added, after meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, that the “rights” of Turkey and of the Turkish Cypriots to energy sources in the Eastern Mediterranean are “non negotiable.”

In this geostrategic setting, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar added that “Turkey will not allow its rights to be violated in the eastern Mediterranean.” In a statement to the Anadolu agency, Akar said “Turkey is determined to defend its rights in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean arising from international law. Turkey is a guarantor, determined to defend the rights of the citizens of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus,” and added that “Turkey is able to defend its national interests and rights if necessary.”

What provoked Turkey’s aggressiveness now?

For months it has been clear that sooner or later Ankara would proceed with actions aiming to ensure that it has a place on the energy map of the Southern Mediterranean. That objective was self-evident for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the Turkish economy is in dire straits and is in danger of collapsing. The other crucial reason is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ambition of establishing Turkey as a regional power.

In an agonizing effort to reduce its energy dependency from Russia, as well as to confirm its aspirations of becoming a significant energy hub between East and the West, Turkey is the only country in the region that feels left out from what is happening in the energy sector in the Southeastern Mediterranean. It has neither endorsed nor ratified the New 1982 Law of the Sea Convention, which defines a state’s rights to the exploitation of its coastal marine waters, i.e. the definition of the EEZ. It is not, however, surprising that the country took advantage of the new Convention’s provisions and declared an EEZ in the Black Sea in 1986. The boundaries with what was then the Soviet Union were based on the previous 1978 agreement for the Continental Shelf. Later, in December 1997, Turkey also agreed and delimited an EEZ with Bulgaria.

It strives to subverse the current status in the South East Mediterranean with high risk actions and statements, aiming to become a significant player in the planning of new energy routes in the region. It declares urbi et orbi that as far as the energy resources of the Cyprus EEZ are concerned, the two communities, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, both have equal rights. Having refused to recognize the Republic of Cyprus, as an independent and sovereign state, a member of the UN and the E..U, Turkey is actively contesting the right of the Republic of Cyprus to exploit underwater energy resources. Unfortunately for Turkey, these resources have currently been identified, or are suspected of being located, in the maritime area that extends to the south of the Cyprus coasts, which belong to the Republic of Cyprus, and not to the Northern part of the island occupied by the Turkish armed forces.

Turkey goes far beyond the statements of contention, refusing to recognise the bilateral EEZ boundary agreements between Cyprus, Israel, Egypt and Lebanon. It also does not recognize the agreements for the allocation of exploration and production in Blocks of the Cyprus EEZ, that the government of the Republic of Cyprus has signed with the foreign energy colossus. It has the habit of carrying out air and naval exercises in the area concerned, deliberately scheduling these for when the Republic of Cyprus has issued NAVTEX warnings for the facilitation and safety of international shipping during exploratory – drilling activities by companies operating in the Blocks of the Cyprus EEZ.

In February 2018, made a bolder gesture when turkish warships blocked and temporarily cancelled the planned exploratory drilling by a floating drilling rig “SAIPEM 12OOO” of the Italian company ENI at the Soupia (Block 3) drill site of the Cyprus EEZ, located south-east of the island between Cyprus and Lebanon. From then on, the turkish President Tayip Erdogan, as well as other members of his government and officials are declaring oral threats about their determination to interdict any attempt of planned drilling (see more in: “Energy Wars: The Security of the Energy Routes in the South East Mediterranean”).

Another serious issue is the effort at NATO level to upgrade relations with the Republic of Cyprus. Ankara, obviously annoyed, reacted to NATO’s invitation to the Republic of Cyprus to participate in the SACEUR chief handing over ceremony. The invitation caused the fury of Turkey which issued a strong announcement and decided that its representatives will not be participating in the event. The Turkish Foreign Ministry, through its representative Hami Aksoy, issued an announcement denouncing the invitation and calling it a reckless act. Ankara is reacting strongly as there are signs that the U.S. may lift an arms embargo on Nicosia, and it is realizing that an upgrade in U.S. – Republic of Cyprus relations is possible.

These and other reasons lead one to the conclusion that there will be no summer respite this year. The Turkish activities in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus demonstrate that Ankara will yet again use provocations to achieve its goals.

“Blue Homeland” and co-exploitation in the Aegean

Speaking at the end of a Greece-Turkey meeting in March 2013, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan uttered the phrase “kazan-kazan” (Turkish for win-win), a term used to describe a situation in which each party benefits in some way. Erdogan was once again referring to the prospect of co-exploiting the hydrocarbon reserves in areas within Ankara’s sphere of interest.

Ankara has in recent months talked up the notion of the “Blue Homeland”. This refers to a vast area expanding across half of the Eastern Mediterranean. It includes the continental shelves of Cyprus, Rhodes, Kastellorizo, Karpathos, Kassos and the eastern section of Crete. The Turkish proposal constitutes an evolution of Ankara’s Aegean demands in the 1970s. “Let’s co-exploit (or co-manage) this entire area” – this is what Erdogan means by “kazan-kazan.”

In the case of Greece, especially, what he is effectively saying is that respective claims by Greece and Turkey will allow neither of the two states to develop potential finds. So instead of fighting against each other, the two should share out the benefits in the context of co-exploitation. Both countries, the argument goes, will be better off this way. Of course, should a co-exploitation deal of this sort be in place, there would be no need for delineating the continental shelf. This also explains Turkey’s claims, which are out-of-line in terms of international law. Ankara wants co-exploitation/co-management.

Turkish Navy: Erdogan’s foreign policy muscle…

On a dry dock just within eyeshot of the city of Istanbul, one may see the semi-completed hull of the TCG “Anadolu”, Turkey’s first light aircraft carrier. The ship is modeled on the Spanish carrier “Juan Carlos I” and is set to be delivered to the Turkish navy at the end of 2020. It has been floated on 4th May 2019, although a technical procedure and not the official launching of the ship. TCG “Anadolu” is being constructed on a floating dock and the keel blocks under her hull need to be relocated. She will be taken back to the dock after the keel blocks have been relocated and the construction will continue. The ship was floated 4 days after she suffered a fire. The fire broke out as some isolation material caught fire when welding was done nearby. Although there is no visible damage from the outside, the fire must have been damaged parts of the ship. Since the construction of the ship continues, the repair of the damaged parts won’t be much difficult.

Once in service, the “Anadolu” will augment a naval force that is expanding and modernizing by leaps and bounds. A total of 24 new ships, including four frigates, will be put to sea by the time Turkey celebrates its centennial in 2023. Complementing these new construction projects is an ambitious plan to retrofit existing ships and submarines with new propulsion, navigation, detection and weapons systems. Most of these upgrades derive from Turkish contractors.

The Turkish Navy’s transformation resonates strongly with the political and social leanings of Turkey’s sitting president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The construction of the “Anadolu”, the final cost of which remains unclear, is in line with his government’s longstanding agenda of sponsoring large-scale capital projects, aimed at demonstrating the country’s sophistication and global standing. An expanded, modernized fleet adds further muscle to Erdogan’s increasingly aggressive posturing in foreign affairs, giving Turkey the ability to further its foreign policy interests across the Mediterranean and elsewhere.

Emphasis upon the employment of Turkish-owned companies in the production of new platforms and technologies reflects the acutely nationalistic tenor of his administration. His advancement of the Turkish defense industry also echoes the synergistic relationship between native manufacturers (particularly those involved in Turkey’s export market) and the government’s new-found assertiveness on the global stage. The Navy’s growth is lastly, and most importantly, emblematic of Turkish aspirations to become more untethered in pursuing the country’s national interests. Once the “Anadolu” slips into the water, mr. Erdogan will undoubtedly declare Turkey ready to assert itself on the high seas without anyone impinging upon its independence or freedom of action.

It is clear, many within Turkey’s political establishment believe that the country is close to standing shoulder to shoulder with other greater powers. The Turkish Navy’s reformation represents an acute example of this emerging worldview; a worldview that increasingly paints the United States as a rival, and at times an adversary, in the path to Turkey’s ascendency on the global stage.

Mr. Erdogan has repeatedly insisted that Turkey has been undermined by the United States and other NATO allies. Among the most consistent tropes of his speeches since the 2016 coup attempt has been his belief that Turkey is experiencing a “second war of independence.” (see more in: “Are we facing the end of U.S.-Turkey relations?”). In alluding to the country’s post-World War I struggle against foreign occupati on, mr. Erdogan has regularly implied that Turks will again liberate themselves from Western influence and help reverse the West’s subjugation of the Middle East and the Islamic world at large.

Turkey’s “Strategic Depth”…

The writings of Erdogan’s former Foreign Minister and Prime Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, have had the greatest influence upon his worldview and consequential approach towards the Navy. In his magnum opus, “Strategic Depth”, Davutoglu proposed that the country’s history and geographic location constituted the basis for a far more robust Turkish foreign policy. Turkey’s imperial past, he maintained, makes it a predestine naval power. Yet, despite their territorial hold over the straits bridging the Black Sea and the Aegean, and their history of ruling lands stretching across the Mediterranean, Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf, Turkey’s rulers have generally failed to leverage these strengths over the last two centuries.

In abdicating the country’s “hidden potential” as a naval power, both the Ottomans and the republican governments wasted opportunities to play a more determinative role in global politics as well as their own defense. Turkey’s imperial heritage and contemporary interests, he argued, should compel Ankara to take a more active role within the “sea basins” within its near abroad. Davutoglu’s original vision, penned in 2001, foresaw a future where economics and shared strategic interests would guide Turkey’s interactions with competing powers. Though he cites the U.S. naval theorist Alfred Thayer Mahan with much affection, Davutoglu’s musings offered no concrete guidance as to how the Turkish Navy should specifically help Turkey realize its innate potential.

Protecting Turkey’s trade and energy interests has also exercised an increasingly strong influence over its current strategic planning. With more than 87% of the country’s trade conducted via maritime ports of entry, and a number of transnational pipelines passing through Turkish territorial waters, the country’s naval capabilities have come to figure more prominently in contemporary Turkish thinking. A desire to stake a claim to natural gas deposits off the coast of Cyprus has especially stirred the attention of policymakers in Ankara. The commencement of Turkish drilling operations, as well as rumored plans for the building of a new Turkish naval base in northern Cyprus, are among the most recent signs that planners intend to project greater influence over the eastern Mediterranean.

Still, other economic factors have helped shape the nature of Turkish naval policy. Turkey’s plans to build and deploy the carrier “Anadolu” is but one indication of Ankara’s overall push to develop and expand its national defense industry. Although lawmakers have long nurtured a desire to make Turkey less dependent upon foreign weaponry and technology, mr. Erdogan’s government has dramatically increased defense spending and has worked diligently to promote state cooperation with native defense contractors. According to a survey conducted by one of the country’s leading defense industry associations, spending on research and development has tripled since 2007, topping more than $1.2 billion during the last fiscal year.

This surge in capital investment has produced a number of projects principally meant to augment the Turkish Navy. In addition to a new line of frigates and corvettes, known as the MILGEM program, local contractors have come to supply the fleet with a new array of torpedoes, missiles, and sensory equipment. Complementing this commitment to modernizing the Turkish Navy has been Ankara’s promotion of its defense industry abroad. Although dwarfed by comparable products meant for land operations, international sales of naval hardware have taken far greater importance in recent years -most notably with Pakistan’s plans to purchase four MILGEM frigates in the coming years.

As a matter of official policy, the Turkish Naval Forces does not envision radical changes to its mission. Turkey’s overall foreign policy goals, according to its 2015 strategic outlook statement, remain grounded in three basic principles: “stability, cooperation and continentally-oriented projection.” Nothing within the Navy’s actions or public statements suggest that it plans to deviate from its current commitments to NATO. More specifically, there are no indications the Turkish Navy sees the United States as anything other than an ally and partner. Yet, recent actions and statements do suggest a change in posture may be forthcoming.

In March, the Turkish Armed Forces staged their largest maritime exercise in modern history, “Mavi Vatan” (Blue Homeland). While Turkey’s state-run news agency cast the maneuvers as contributing “…to the shared goals of NATO,” Russian ships later joined the exercises. One former Turkish admiral emphasized that the “Blue Homeland” exercises constituted a message to the United States and other Western powers. The West, he argued, was intent upon blocking Turkey’s access to the energy-rich Mediterranean and “…did not want Turkey to join the maritime club of the developed world.” Even greater vitriol (sic) can be found in the editorial pages of pro-government newspapers or from watching popular television commentators. Turkey’s modernizing Navy, as one commentator put it, stands ready “…for war against the fait accompli attempts of Greece and the Greek administration of Cyprus to expand their occupation efforts in the Aegean and the Mediterranean.”

As the hull of the “Anadolu” continues to rise above the sea’s horizon, it certainly appears that mr. Erdogan and other senior leaders bank on the ability of the Turkish Navy to take a more forceful role on the open ocean. Whether these aspirations are indeed attainable depend upon several factors. When the modernization of the Navy began, Turkey boasted a growing economy and stronger currency. After the lira’s recent downturn, the country’s financial stability increasingly looks at risk.

Despite statements to the contrary, Ankara’s ability to continue its revamping of its Navy also rests on maintaining strong relations with its NATO partners. The “Anadolu”, for example, was commissioned as a platform used to deploy its expected fleet of F-35 fighters. As of this spring, it is unclear whether Turkey will ever receive the 100 planes it had originally planed. Whether the Turkish Navy can truly operate independently of its allies is yet another unanswered question. With much of its fleet composed of new, limitedly tested platforms and technology, it remains to be seen how well Turkish vessels can sustain long deployments or combat operations completely on its own. For this reason, experts still rate the Turkish Navy as “an essentially littoral force.”

Yet even, if one accounts for these potential limitations, it is likely that Turkish aspirations for greater global influence will endure. In spite of the contentiousness of his rule, mr. Erdogan has had an indelible effect upon how large numbers of Turks see their country’s future. The revisionism of his worldview, an outlook that casts Turkey as a spited global-power-in-waiting, resonates strongly among citizens at various ends of the country’s political spectrum. Though foreign analysts and policymakers may not include Turkey among other contemporary “great powers,” Turkish political leaders and opinion makers possess no qualms in ranking their country’s long-term potential alongside the likes of Russia, China, and the United States.

What that means for the United States is not entirely clear. While Ankara and Washington remain bound together through NATO and other bilateral ties, the desire to match or overtake the United States as a regional and global actor serves as a powerful source of inspiration in Turkey. In the long run, these impulses will likely lead to greater conflict between the two historic allies (see also: “Are we facing the end of U.S.-Turkey relations?”).

The Turkish Fleet*

The main Turkish naval units are 16 frigates: 8 ex-US Oliver Hazard Perry class, 4 MEKO 200TN Block I and 4 MEKO 200TN Block IIA/B, 9 Corvettes: 3 ADA class built in Turkey under the MILGEM National Ship Program, and 6 D ‘ESTIENNE D’ORVES class of French origin, 12 submarines: 4 Type 209/1200 (2 upgraded), 4 PREVEZE class Type 2009T1/1400 and 4 GUR class 2009T2/1400 mod and 21 missile boats.

The 8 ex-US Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates were delivered in 1998-2001. They are the only naval assets with an area air defence capability equipped with SM-1R mid-range anti-aircraft missiles. The Track IIA/B frigates of German origin entered service during 1995 to 2000. The four MEKO 200 Track I frigates, also of German origin, entered service during 1987-1989. The three Turkish-built ADA class MILGEM corvettes, entered service during 2014-2018 and the 6 D ‘ESTIENNE D’ORVES’ class were acquired second-handed from France during 2001 to 2002.

Deliveries over the past decade have included:

  • 3 ADE class corvettes (one more expected to be delivered in 2019),
  • Completion of the modernization program for 4 GIRESUN class frigates (formerly Oliver Hazard Perry class). This involved the installation of a ESSM RIM-162B missile Mk 41 vertical launch missile system (22 km range), retaining the Mk 13 launcher for the SM-1MR missiles (37 km range) and installation of a new GENESIS combat system.
  • Completion of a modernization program for the Track II A/B frigates. This entailed the installation of two Mk41 vertical launch system 8 cell modules and replacement of the Mk29 Mod4 rotating launcher, installation of a new 3D SMART-S Mk2 air and surface surveillance main radar and installation of a new GENESIS Combat Management System.
  • Completion of the modernization program for the 2 type 209/1200 submarines with the installation of the American Raytheon INS system, German Zeiss periscopes and the underwater version of the ARES-2 electronic support system (ESM) by Turkish-Aselsan.

Under construction today are:

  • The fourth ADA class Turkish corvette of the MILGEM national ship program, (delivery 2019).
  • The first (out of a planned acquisition of four) Turkish-built ISTANBUL class frigates under the MILGEM national ship program. Estimated delivery of the first ship is in 2020.
  • 6 type 214TN AIP submarines although the program is suffering from major delays. Estimated delivery of the first submarine is in 2020 and then deliveries of one per year for each new submarine until 2025.
  • ANADOLU class aircraft-helicopter carrier, capable of carrying 6 F-35B (VTOL) fighters (delivery unknown), 4 attack, 8 utility and 2 anti-submarine helicopters.

*(see also: “Energy Wars: The Security of the Energy Routes in the South East Mediterranean”).


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