>UK – Turkey: Naval Industry Inward Mission (Part 1)

>In February, UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO) will entertain its guest from Turkish maritime industry in a invitation only gathering. This is a clear and unmistakable sign of growing interest of British defence companies in Turkish naval projects

It was about time as the existence of British involvement in Turkey’s naval projects have been very limited until know.


I am personally a believer and follower of the phrase “Nations do not have permanent allies of enemies only permanent interests.” However in reality, some times the cold calculations of rationality are obstructed by historical events. And the relations between Britain and Turkey regarding naval matters was always very rocky.

My theory why British defence companies have failed to win any contracts for Turkish Naval projects is that Turkish Navy has never forgot the “back stabbing” by British when two Ottoman dreadnoughts Reşadiye and Sultan Osman I that had been ordered by the Ottoman government, were not handed over despite the fact that they had both been completed in 1914. They become HMS Erin and HMS Agincourt

They were not the only ships. In 1938 Turkey ordered four submarines and four destroyers from Britain. As Second World War started before the deliveries, only two of the submarines were delivered during war. The destroyers were handed over in 1946.

Since then the working relations between two navies was always professional and courteous by Royal Navy did never enjoyed the attention US navy enjoyed.

And since 1945, UK companies never won any significant contracts from Turkish Navy. The most important recent defence procurement from UK were Mk 24 Mod.2 Tigerfish torpedoes for Preveze class submarines and Sea Skua anti-ship missiles for AB-212 ASW helicopters. Both were completed in 1990’s.

The Tigerfish caused for a big excitement in Deniz Kurdu 2001 naval exercise, when a Mk24 Mod.2 fired from TCG 18 Mart submarine to a decommissioned ship veered from its course 3000 yards short of its target. The frigates carrying high ranking officials and visitors scrambled away from the path of the run away torpedo. And the Sea Skua missiles may have passed their shelf life already. So both projects were not an stellar example of sucess.

One Response to >UK – Turkey: Naval Industry Inward Mission (Part 1)

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