The world economic crisis has had an impact on virtually everyone. Proceedings asked the commanders of the world's navies: The global economic downturn is obviously affecting the United States and its Navy. How is it affecting your navy's maritime strategy, operation, and force structure?
Admiral Ugur Yigit—Turkish Navy
Turkey, a crucial player in both regional and global economies, has endured the consequences of the recent financial crisis. With looming cuts in resource allocations and unexpected changes in foreign currencies, the Turkish Navy has rigidly monitored its budgetary practices and initiated preventive measures, including expenditure reductions and prioritization of major projects. These measures ensure a minimal impact on both our combat readiness and modernization plans. With a heavy bias toward operational readiness at all times, the navy strives to maintain a cost-effective sustainable operational tempo. It will surely continue to do so in the days to come, providing maritime security in the nation's surrounding seas and participating in national as well as NATO and multinational training, exercises, and operations.
In a broader perspective, this implementation is a by-product of Turkish maritime policy and strategy. These focus on guarding national maritime interests, contributing to regional as well as global peace and security, and ensuring cooperation, interoperability and mutual trust among allies, partners, and neighbors. Drawing on the strategy—apart from our conventional roles and missions—the Turkish Navy continues to attach great importance to maritime situational awareness and maritime security operations. In this respect, the navy has launched regional initiatives in the Mediterranean and Black seas, and contributed to regional and global security operations both in maritime as well as land domains. Despite the subdued economy, the navy foresees the least possible change in its maritime strategy, and intends to maintain its current endeavors.
The Turkish Navy, on the other hand, has adapted a sui generis planning method to maintain and generate a credible force structure, meeting the requirements of both national and NATO defense planning processes. To mitigate potential impacts of a crisis in the future force structure, every step in defense planning process is reviewed cautiously through scientific analysis.
Meanwhile, the acquisition programs for Kiliç II-class fast-attack craft and Aydin-class minehunters have been successfully completed. The Turkish Navy's prestige project, MILGEM—from the contraction of "national ship" in Turkish—is an indigenously designed, developed, and built corvette that is on schedule with the first ship to be delivered in 2011. Other shipbuilding projects such as new-design patrol boats, amphibious ships, and air-independent propulsion submarines are well underway. A submarine rescue ship and two salvage vessels are to be completed in 2012. Refurbishment of all Gabya-class (ex-Perry) frigates, with the new national combat management system, Genesis, is on track along with the future addition of Evolved SeaSparrow missile capability. The first phase of project Distant Horizon has been completed.
In summary, the Turkish Navy exercises due caution to lessen effects of the global economic problems. Our modernization and maintenance programs as well as training and exercise schedules are continuously reviewed and priorities set accordingly, to maintain the force operationally ready and effective. Being aware of its national and multinational commitments, the Turkish Navy will continue to contribute to global maritime security through regionally provided maritime security.
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