Admiral Bülent Bostanoglu
Turkey is exposed to the negative impacts of numerous ongoing crises in the north of the Black Sea and in various hot spots throughout Turkey’s southern borders. Furthermore, historical disputes in the Aegean and growing tensions in the eastern Mediterranean are prone to result in further crises, depending on the policies chosen by neighboring countries. These existing and potential crises may well continue to impact Turkey’s security situation and hence the operations and force posture of the Turkish Navy in the next five to ten years.
The challenge in the Black Sea will be to restore stability and mutual confidence among the littoral states, both of which were hampered with the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis. The Turkish Navy will continue promoting the principle of regional ownership and regional naval mechanisms, such as the Black Sea Naval Co-Operation Task Group and Operation Black Sea Harmony, developed throughout the last decade. Simultaneously, NATO’s assurance measures, which are tailored according to the evolving security situation and threat perception, will continue to be actively supported.
In the Aegean, the Turkish Navy will continue to contribute to friendly and allied relations, as well as confidence-building measures, while remaining vigilant for potential tensions that could stem from attempts to change the status quo established by the Lausanne Peace Treaty and to restrict the use of the high seas.
The Turkish Navy’s main area of concentration will be the eastern Mediterranean, due to the ongoing disputes on delineating maritime-jurisdiction areas. The navy will continue to actively protect Turkey’s maritime interests in the country’s maritime-jurisdiction areas and support the preservation of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ maritime rights.
Recognizing the importance of peace and stability in the eastern Mediterranean for both the littorals and external forces, the Turkish Navy will promote regional cooperation, continue to contribute to NATO’s and the United Nations’ maritime operations, exploit opportunities for closer cooperation with the U.S. naval assets in the region, and seek to establish mutually beneficial relations with relevant counterparts on the basis of the European Union Maritime Security Strategy.
Beyond Turkey’s surrounding seas, securing sea lines of communication frequently used by the Turkish merchant fleet, supporting Turkish foreign policy as required, contributing to Alliance Maritime Strategy, and promoting regional and global peace and stability will be the primary missions of the Turkish Navy that will be executed under national, allied, or coalition structures.