In today’s complex and dynamic threat environment, military leaders must effectively employ limited resources to execute their country’s national security strategy. Proceedings asked sea-service commanders around the world: It is often said that a nation’s national defense decisions are ultimately derived from its own sovereign interests. Given this presumption, what are the global trends that most influence your national security decision making and how does your navy use its operating policies, alliances, and partnerships to address these trends?
Admiral Bulent Bostanoglu
Situated at the epicenter of the Afro-Eurasian world, Turkey is impacted by ongoing volatilities in parts of the Middle East and North Africa and the global shift of economic and strategic weight to east and south. Domestically, Turkey’s economy and the energy demand to sustain it are growing steadily, while its trade links are expanding globally.
Compounded with various asymmetrical threats, these trends shape the maritime-security environment, putting a premium on sustaining freedom of the seas at a time when the economic value of sea-based resources is growing and the disputes on the delimitation of maritime jurisdiction areas are exacerbated. Facing these wide-ranging challenges, the Turkish Navy retains a deterrent fleet to serve national security and to protect maritime interests around the world, while closely cooperating with allied and friendly navies to contribute to regional and global stability.
The Turkish Navy is promoting regional initiatives, in particular Black Sea Naval Force and Operation Black Sea Harmony, sustaining friendly and allied relations in the Aegean, and maintaining a robust presence in the Eastern Mediterranean. This will protect interests in Turkey’s maritime jurisdiction areas to cope with regional turbulences and to ensure energy security, including through conducting Operation Mediterranean Shield.
Commensurate with NATO’s cornerstone role in Turkey’s defense and security policy and in support of Alliance Maritime Strategy, the Turkish Navy is taking part in collective defense- and crisis-management operations, contributing to standing naval groups, supporting alliance outreach policies, and undertaking smart defense initiatives such as the recently activated Multinational Maritime Security Center of Excellence.
While supporting the U.N.–mandated UNIFIL mission in the Eastern Mediterranean to contribute to regional stability, the Turkish Navy is supporting allied and coalition operations against piracy off the coast of Somalia to ensure the safety and security of global maritime trade. It is also deploying the Turkish Maritime Task Group in areas of interests to further contribute to international maritime security and capacity-building efforts, exploring opportunities to increase cooperation with the African Union and the regional formations and countries in the continent, and participating in regional and trans-regional maritime situational-awareness initiatives, such as the Virtual Regional Maritime Traffic Centre and Trans-Regional Maritime Network.
As we share overlapping areas of maritime interest, the Turkish Navy is also seeking to increase cooperation with European navies in the multinational structures such as the European Amphibious Initiative and European Maritime Force and looks forward to having mutually beneficial involvement in the maritime dimension of Common Security and Defense Policy activities.
While actively contributing to NATO’s missions and operations, the Turkish Navy will continue developing complementary cooperative relations in support of truly indivisible global maritime security.