Republic Day 2014

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Today we are celebrating the 91th anniversary the creation of Turkish Republic.

I am grateful to those who made it possible for me and my family to live in this beautiful country under our own flag.

And I can’t think of a better was to celebrate our independence with a couple of elegantly decorated ships.

Foreign Warships On Bosphorus – Nostalgia Edition

HMS M1

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TCG Yavuz

On Saturday I have found these old 4 photos in an antique shop in Istanbul and bought them. I have removed the photos from their old and deteriorated frames.

The first photo shows the British submarine HMS M-1 in Istanbul. Though I have no date on the back of the photo or on the frame I can see snow on the roof of the submarine and on the roofs of the buildings in the back ground. A quick search on the internet provided me with a couple of photos from the same submarine in Istanbul in February 1919. Thus I believe my photo was taken around that time. It can be pretty cold in Istanbul in February.

The second photo shows either an Admiralty Modified R class or a S class Royal Navy destroyer. The next photo was taken on board of this ship with her crew and the mascot dog posing. Again this photo has to be taken during the Allied occupation of Istanbul between 1918 and 1923

The last photo is the only one that had a note on the back: “German battleship ‘Goeben’ at Ismid Nr Constantinople 1918″ . I do not need any notes to identify this beautiful ship, which shaped the history of this nation it was nice to know that the photo was not taken in Istanbul. Some ships of the Ottoman Navy were interned in the Golden Horn in Istanbul while the Goeben / Yavuz was interned in a place near Izmit. This place is know today as the Gölcük Naval Base and is the main base of Turkish Navy.

RFA Lyme Bay In Bodrum

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L-3007 RFA Lyme Bay in Bodrum. Photo: memuruz.net

Royal Fleet Auxiliary Lyme Bay has docked in Bodrum for a port visit. Her sister, RFA Mounts Bay, made also a port visit in Bodrum during last year’s deployment.

L-3007 RFA Lyme Bay is currently on a 4 month-long deployment in the Mediterranean called Cougar 2014 with other Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary  units.

According to Royal Navy the Cougar is a four-month deployment, 14, includes a series of demanding amphibious and maritime-based exercises with partner nations throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East region and ensures that the task group is ready to respond to any contingency the UK Government directs upon it.

The Royal Navy’s Response Force Task Group (RFTG) in Cougar 2014 has already conducted exercise with Greek and Albanian armed forces.

RFA Lyme Bay will leave Bodrum on 21 September 2014.

Victory Day 2014

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We are grateful to those who paid the ultimate price for our independence and for our country.

This year we celebrate the 92th anniversary of the victory in the Battle of Dumlupınar, the final battle in the Turkish War of Independence in 1922.

The Battle of Dumlupınar was fought from 26 August to 30 August 1922, at the end of the battle the invading Greek Army was definitely and distinctively beaten and the almost all the invading foreign forces were repelled.

This victory opened the way of the independent Turkish Republic, which is more valuable to us than anything else.

The Commander of Turkish Naval Forces Visits China

According to the website of Ministry of National Defence The People’s Republic of China, Admiral Bülent Bostanoğlu, commander of the Turkish Navy and his party met with Wu Shengli, commander of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army

Wu Shengli said that developing a mutually-trustful, win-win and everlasting relationship between the two navies is of great significance for both sides in jointly handling security challenges, deepening the strategic connotations of the relationship between the two countries and the two militaries, and safeguarding each other’s strategic interests. He hoped that the two navies of the two countries can maintain exchanges at all levels, increase exchange visits of warships, push forward cooperation in escort mission, deepen academy exchanges, and carry out joint training of amphibious troops. Wu Shengli also invited the Turkish naval cadets to join the warship training voyage organized by the Dalian Naval Academy next year.

Bostanoğlu said that the friendly relations between China and Turkey are precious and valuable. Turkey attaches great importance to its relationship with China, and the Turkish navy will be devoted to deepening the exchanges and cooperation between the two navies of the two countries and push forward the development of the bilateral relations.

Bostanoğlu and his delegation will also visit the North China Sea Fleet, the East China Sea Fleet, the Naval Submarine Academy and the Institute of Naval Medicine under the PLAN, as well as naval ships and planes.

Admiral Bülent Bostanoğlu also met, with Fan Changlong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the People’s Republic of China on 7 July 2014.

Fan Changlong said that the friendship between China and Turkey goes back to ancient times (emphasis is mine), noting the two countries have maintained sustained, healthy and steady progresses on their friendly cooperative relationship since the establishment of the diplomatic ties, and have supported and coordinated with each other in major international and regional issues.

Fan also said that the relations between the Chinese and Turkish militaries have always maintained a sound momentum of development as evidenced by frequent high-level mutual visits, extensive exchanges and cooperation in military training, exercise and academy education, as well as mutual support in international peacekeeping missions and anti-piracy escort missions.

Fan stressed that the Chinese side attaches great importance to its military relations with the Turkish side, and is ready to further enhance pragmatic cooperation with Turkey in various areas including exchanges between the two navies, so as to upgrade the military cooperation and advance the relations between the two militaries to a higher level.

Bostanoğlu said although Turkey and China are far apart geographically, the people of the two countries have profound friendship. Turkey opposes all forms of terrorism and stands ready to work with China to carry out joint anti-terrorism actions. He hailed the smooth development of the relations between the Turkish and Chinese militaries. He expressed that he will constantly push forward the development of the friendly relations between the two militaries.

I think that Mr. Changlong was trying to be nice when he said that “the friendship between China and Turkey goes back to ancient times”. Let’s not forget why the Great Wall of China was build and against whom.

 

 

Lest We Forget: The Gallipoli Campaign

Yesterday and today at dawn, many Turks, Australians and New Zealanders commemorated the 99th anniversary of the  Gallipoli wars and the death. This is post I have written 4 years ago. But I don’t think anything has changed.

It was clear to the Allied commanders, after their attempt to force the Dardanelles by the naval alone, failed dramatically in 18 March; ground troops were needed to silence the Turkish defenses along the Strait.

On the dawn of 25th April after more a month of preparation and planning British, French and ANZAC troops landed on the beach on Gallipoli and Anatolia. This was the beginning of the one of the gruesome campaigns of the First World War.

For the next 8 and half months over 200.000 soldiers of all participants were either killed, wounded, hospitalized by illness or went missing.

The Gallipoli wars were particularly important for Turks, Australians and New Zealanders. Although the ANZAC came to our home as invaders there is a special bond between these nations. Long forgotten are the atrocities of the war. Every year thousands of Aussies and Kiwis come to Çanakkale and visit the battleground and attend the dawn service in Anzac Cove (now this is the official name of the cove). I do not know any other commemoration where two former enemies join to remember their fallen soldiers.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who personally fought against the ANZAC’s in Gallipoli, later wrote in 1934 for his former advisories the following words:

Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives… You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmet’s to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours… you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land. They have become our sons as well.

Dissecting Jpost Op-ed “Turkey vulnerable to rising Russian power in the Black Sea”

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A ESSM missile being fired from a Mk-41 launcher on board of a Turkish frigate. But Mr. Tanchum tells us that these missiles will get into Turkish inventory in 2016. May be these are not the ESSM missiles Mr. Tanchum is looking for.

Yesterday, The Jerusalem Post published an op-ed by Micha’el Tanchum, which was first published in the Turkey Analyst.  This this op-ed Mr. Tanchum explains that:

With the annexation of Crimea, Turkey faces a stronger and bolder Russian naval power in the Black Sea. A resurgent Russia may be tempted to exploit its temporary naval dominance to alter current Black Sea energy exploitation and transportation arrangements more in its favor and to the detriment of Turkey and its partners in the Caucasus.

While there a some aspects in this op-ed where I whole hearty agree there also some obvious and large material mistakes that raises questions about the credibility of the writer and his reason the write such a text.

Let’s start:

After gaining experience from the building of the slightly larger but more lethal TF 100 anti-air warfare frigates, Turkey then intends to build a series of TF 2000 frigates. Double the size of the TF 100, the TF 2000 anti-air warfare frigate will significantly advance the Turkish fleet’s transformation into a blue-water navy.

This is not correct. TF-2000 air defense ship project will supersede TF-100 project. TF-100 project is scheduled to start around 2020 to replace the MEKO 200 Track I frigates. On the other hand TF-2000 will be a major ship program and will form the mainstay of Turkish Navy with long range air defense sensors and weapons. TF-2000 is in early design phase and TF-100 does not exists even on blue-paper. Therefore it is not possible to say that one class of ships will be the double of the other as there is no data to compare at all. But I agree that TF-2000 will advance Turkish Navy into a blue-water navy.

The TF 100 frigates will be the first Turkish vessels to carry the American-manufactured RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) system capable of countering the current generation of supersonic anti-ship missiles.

It is absolutely and utterly false that TF-100 frigates are going to be the first ESSM capable ships in Turkish Navy. As you can see from the photo above Turkish Navy has today ESSM capable ships in operation. As the regular readers of this blog and people who really follow the developments in Turkish Navy know, Turkish Navy has installed Mk-41 vertical launcher systems in 4 of its 8 Gabya (ex Perry) class frigates. And the main 2D search radars of these 4 ships with Mk-41 are being replaced by 3D radars. The main reason for the installation of the Mk-41 is to use the ESSM missile which is incompatible with the Mk-13 launcher on these ships.In addition to 4 Gabya class frigates 2 MEKO 200 Track IIB class frigates have Mk-41 launchers. This 2 ships are also capable to use ESSM missiles. And this capability will be retrofitted to the 2 MEKO 200 Track IIA frigates when their Mk-29 launcher will be replaced by Mk-41 VLS.

 Turkey’s strategic vulnerability was not anticipated because of the view in Turkish policy circles that Turkey enjoys a relative parity with Russia in the Black Sea. However, the approximate parity exists only when Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is matched against all the major assets of the Turkish navy. Prior to the Crimean conflict, Russia’s Black Sea fleet consisted of 24 major surface combatants and one diesel submarine while Turkey’s major naval assets consist of approximately 24 surface combatants and 14 submarines. The parity is illusory as it is unlikely that Turkey would be able to deploy all or most of its naval assets in a Black Sea conflict.

I have always found making a comparison between Turkish and Russian Naval Forces very difficult as Russia has 3 other Fleets and it is not clear whether Turkey can mobilise all its major naval units to the Black Sea.
But I have difficulty to calculating Mr. Tanchum’s math on units numbers. The Turkish side is simple: 8 Gabya frigates + 8 MEKO 200 frigates + 6 Burak corvettes + 2 Ada corvettes and came up to 24 major surface units. On Russian side the math is not so simple. I have tired to remake Mr. Tanchum’s calculation based on Jane’s Fighting Ship reference book: 1 Slava cruiser + 1 Kara cruiser + 1 Kashin destroyer + 2 Krivak frigate + 6 Grisha frigate + 2 Sivuch corvettes + 5 Tarantul corvettes + 2 Nanuchka corvette makes 20 major surface units.
I have no idea where the other 4 units mentions in the op-ed were added to the Russian side. On the other hand if one is adding Tarantul and Nanuchka class ships to a comparison on Russian side then one has to add Yıldız and Karayel class fast attack craft on Turkish side. As in terms of displacement, on board weapons and sensors there is not much difference between Tarantul and Nanuchka class corvettes and Yıldız and Karayel class fast attack craft. Therefore I am thinking that Mr. Tanchum’s numbers are either biased or he has chosen his sample units poorly, which makes the above quoted comparison dubious.

With the annexation of Crimea, Turkey faces a stronger and bolder Russian naval power in the Black Sea. Russia now possesses the Ukrainian navy’s submarine and several, if not most, of Ukraine’s 11 major surface combatants. Even without the Ukraine’s naval assets, Russia’s own new additions to its Black Sea Fleet will enable Moscow to dominate the region. Russia recently put to sea the first of its six Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates. All six frigates are designated for service in the Black Sea Fleet.

It is true that the annexed Ukrainian naval assets increased the roster of the Russian Black Sea Unit. But this is only on paper. In reality most of the Ukrainian units taken by Russians are unfit for service and pose no thread to anyone. There are some reports that Russia has started to return some of the Ukrainian naval units back to Ukraine as they are not fit for service in Russian Navy. The Ukrainian submarine Zaporizhzhya sized by Russian forces was declared unfit for service but is still in Russian hands. Thus until newly build naval units start to arrive in the Black Sea the enlargement of Russian Black Sea units through the influx of Ukrainian naval units is not realistic thread.

Russia’s own new additions to its Black Sea Fleet will enable Moscow to dominate the region. Russia recently put to sea the first of its six Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates. All six frigates are designated for service in the Black Sea Fleet.

It’s true that Russia wants to improve its Black Sea Fleet with new frigates and submarines. But it is wrong to assume that these ships are going to be an addition the current warships. On the contrary these new constructed warships will replace existing old warships which reached the end of their usefulness. Therefore these new warships will not increase the number of Russian warships in the Black Sea 1:1.

Within the same 2016 timeframe, Russia will also add six newly improved Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines to its Black Sea Fleet ahead of Turkey’s deployment of an equivalent number of Ada-class anti-submarine corvettes. These two Russian procurement programs alone will quickly tilt the balance of naval forces in Russia’s favor, giving Russia a significant strategic advantage for a window of four to eight years depending on the pace of Turkey’s resumed production schedule

The above quoted paragraph shows that making naval analysis is not Mr. Tanchum’s strong suit. He is fundamentally wrong in his assumption that the main Turkish adversary of the Russian Kilo class submarines will be the Ada class corvettes. One does not fight airplanes with SAM missiles. One does not fight enemy tanks with ATGMs. The main weapons Turkey will use against the Kilo class submarines that will start to enter into service in (at least) 3 years time will be the submarines Turkey possess.   And with 14 submarines in service Turkey has the strongest diesel-electric submarine force in NATO. These submarines are a huge force multiplier and one of our countries most important silent and deadly weapons. Six of the 14 submarines in Turkish inventory are nearing their useful life and they will be replaced by AIP Type 214 submarines. Even if Russian Black Sea Fleet enjoys an advantage in numbers for a time the air independent submarines will have the upper hand against the Russian submarines as they will not be AIP equipped.

It’s noteworthy that the new submarine construction programme of Turkey was never mentioned in this text.

Until Ankara can rectify the gap in naval capabilities created by MILGEM’s delays, Turkey will not be able to defend its national interests adequately as Russia attempts to reestablish its sphere of influence in the greater Black Sea region

During the Cold War the Black Sea was divided between NATO nation Turkey and 3 Warsaw Pact nations Bulgaria, Romania and USSR.  How we have 3 NATO nations Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania. Plus Ukraine, Russia and Georgia. With the annexation of Crime by Russia the status quo in the Black Sea which was created at the end of the Cold War has changed. But this change is not unmanageable for Ankara as long as we have a long term political goal and will toreach it.

It is beyond any doubt that the cancellation of Milgem construction tender given to RMK Marine shipyard has created a havoc among the Turkish naval armament projects. But believing this delay will hamper Turkey’s ability to defends its national interest is wish full thinking.

 

FS Var In Marmaris

A-608 FS Var in Marmaris. Photo: yeniasir.com

A-608 FS Var in Marmaris. Photo: yeniasir.com

French Durance class underway replenishment tanker A-608 FS Var arrived in Marmaris in the morning hours on 5 April 2014.

Although it was not disclosed how long the ship will stay in Marmaris, it is safe to assume that the port visit will take at least 3 days. It was reported that FS Var is going back to France after completing her deployment for NATO’s Active Endeavor in Eastern Mediterranean.

Cassard In Marmaris

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FS Cassard in exercise with USS George H.W. Bush.

The French frigate D-614 FS Cassard arrived in Marmaris for a port visit.

Before arriving in Marmaris, the French warship stationed in Eastern Mediterranean, conducted “PASSEX” exercise with the U.S. aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush.

Unlike her sister D-615 FS Jean Bart the main radar of FS Cassard has not been upgraded. She still has the original DRBJ 11B 3 D radar. This radar was replaced with a SMART-S Mk2 on FS Jean Bart.

Doğu Akdeniz 2013 Naval Exercise

Turkish Navy announced that the Doğu Akdeniz 2013 naval exercise will start on 4th November. The invitation only exercise will continue till 14 November 2013.

Besides ships, planes of Turkish Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force, SNMG-2 task force of NATO and one US Navy destroyer will also take part in the exercise which will be conducted in like its name implies in Eastern Mediterranean.

The purpose of the exercise is to develop mutual cooperation and to provide training opportunities to the participating forces on regional crisis intervention along a provided scenario.

5 naval helicopters, 1 maritime patrol plane, one underwater assault team and one naval WMD response team, planes from Turkish air force and NATO Maritime Security Center of Excellence will participate in the exercise along with the ships listed below:

Number Name Type Country
F-X TCG X Frigate Turkey
F-X TCG X Frigate Turkey
F-X TCG X Frigate Turkey
F-X TCG X Corvette Turkey
F-X TCG X Corvette Turkey
P-X TCG X Fast Attack Boat Turkey
P-X TCG X Fast Attack Boat Turkey
P-X TCG X Fast Attack Boat Turkey
P-X TCG X Fast Attack Boat Turkey
S-X TCG X Submarine Turkey
S-X TCG X Submarine Turkey
S-X TCG X Submarine Turkey
A-X TCG X Tanker Turkey
A-X TCG X Tanker Turkey
NL-X TCG X LST Turkey
P-X TCG X Patrol Boat Turkey
P-X TCG X Patrol Boat Turkey
F-101 ESPS Alvaro De Bazan Frigate Spain
F-246 TCG Salihreis Frigate Turkey
F-219 FGS Sachsen Frigate Germany
DDG-55 USS Stout Destroyer USA

Any additions and corrections are most welcome.

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