What Is The Blue Homeland?

Below is written by retired Admiral Cem Gürdeniz. The original text appeared at uwidata.com and is used here with permission. You can read the whole text here.

The Blue Homeland is a concept, a symbol, and also a doctrine. 

As a concept, its scope consists of all maritime jurisdiction zones (inland waters, territorial waters, continental shelf, exclusive economic zone), declared or undeclared, as well as rivers and lakes. The Blue Homeland, in an exact sense, is an extension at sea and seabed of our homeland located between 26-45 East longitudes and 36-42 North latitudes. The Blue Homeland is the name of our zone of interest and jurisdiction over salty and fresh waters located between 25-45 East longitudes and 33-43 North latitudes.

As a symbol, it designates Turkey’s maritimization as its grand strategic goal for the state and its people in the 21st century. It symbolizes redirection of land-based mentality in Turkey to seas and thereby to achieve maritimization of its people.

As a doctrine, it’s a roadmap aimed to protect rights and interests in the seas surrounding Anatolia as well as seas and oceans beyond its periphery. Thereby, with their unique features, maritime principles and thoughts would be transformed into an illuminating roadmap and define our future on the axis of geopolitical zones of influence and defense. This concept could present new opportunities within the global process at a time of transition from unipolarity to multipolarity, from Atlantic age to Asian age, to strengthen Turkey’s geopolitical control over the Eastern Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and the Straits. It may open unprecedented windows for change in Turkey’s dossier of global, continental, and regional relations. Naturally, this doctrine necessitates Turkey’s legitimacy with international law to dominate maritime zones as well as capabilities and volition to trigger events over political, diplomatic, military, and economic dimensions.

Ivan Khurs Deployed to the Mediterranean

Yesterday, Ivan Khurs a Project 18280 class intelligence-gathering warship of Russian Black Sea Fleet transited through Istanbul.

This is the start of her first Mediterranean deployment. She was launched in 2017 and joined the Russian Black Sea Fleet in 2018. Her inaugural voyage to her base in Sevastopol was in December 2018. She has passed through Istanbul ob 27th December 2018 after sunset. So we are not able to see much of her.

Since her recent deployment happened in broad daylight we are able to observer Ivan Khurs.

Below are 3 photos of the various antennas onboard Ivan Khurs.

TCG Kınalıada Joins Turkish Navy

TCG Kınalıada in Istanbul Naval Shipyard. This photo was taken on May 2019 by Gökhan Karakaş.

The fourth and the final Ada class Corvette TCG Kınalıada was commissioned to the Turkish Navy on 29th September 2019.

TCG Kınalıada has entered into service 8 years after the first ship of the class was commissioned. Her entry also means the completion of Milgem class corvette production for the Turkish Navy.

On the outside, TCG Kınalıada may very much look like the first ship TCG Heybeliada, but she incorporates significant improvements reflecting the advance of the Turkish defense industry during the last decade:

  1. TCG Kınalıada is the first ship ever to be fitted with the indigenous Atmaca anti-ship missile. The corvette is expected to conduct a live firing of the missile in November. When officially commissioned Atmaca will be fitted back to the existing warships in the inventory.
  2. TCG Kınalıada and TCG Burgazada are fitted with Aselsan Seaeye-Ahtapot electro-optic sensor on the aft mast while the previous ships use Aselflir 300. Aselflir 300 was originally designed for airborne platforms and was installed without much modification for a service on a warship. Thus the meantime between regular maintenance is quite short for a maritime system and the whole sensor must be taken down for the maintenance. These shortcomings are rectified in Seaeye-Ahtapot. It has a better tracking range and resolution.
  3. TCG Kınalıada and TCG Burgazada have Aselsan made Hızır countermeasure system for torpedo attacks.  The system consists of two decoy launchers on both sides of the funnel and one towed array and decoy. Though the system is very similar to a torpedo countermeasure system SeaSentor manufactured by Ultra, used the other ships. The logistics of a locally constructed system is preferred by the end-user.
  4. Another important change inside TCG Kınalıada is the new Genesis Advent combat management system with network-enabled capability. This new CMS has native data link capability and can manage Link 11,16 and 22 at the same time. It increases situational awareness. When ships are installed with Genesis Advent they will be able not only to see and share the same tactical picture but also to control and train each other’s sensors and weapon systems.

When I was watching the commissioning ceremony, I couldn’t stop thinking about, what would have happened, if the tender for the construction of 6 Milgem class, won by RMK Marine Shipyard had not been canceled back in 2013. Since the cancelation of the project happened before the completion of the contract negotiation thus we will never know the planned delivery dates. But surely we would have 2 to 3 more Milgem type corvettes in inventory as we do have now.

Even the best ship cannot be in two places at the same time.  And we need more warships now both to rejuvenate our aging fleet and to protect our interest in the blue homeland.

First Steel Cut For Pakistan Navy Milgem Project Ship


Pakistan Navy Chief OF Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi and the President of the Turkish Republic, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan jointly cut the first steel of the first Milgem class warship for Pakistan. The ceremony was held on 29th September 2019 in Istanbul Naval Shipyard.

In July 2018, a contract was signed between Military Factory and Shipyard Management Corporation (ASFAT) of Turkey and the Pakistani National Defense Ministry Ammunition Production and Karachi Shipyard for the construction of four Milgem class warships. The construction of the first ship will take 54 months and she is expected to be launched in 2012 and delivered to Pakistan Navy in 2023. The remaining ships will follow her in 6-month intervals. The last ship will be handed over in 2025.

The contract has also provisions for transfer of design rights and construction know-how from Turkey to Pakistan.

The first batch of two ships will be constructed in Istanbul Naval Shipyard while the remaining two in Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works.

The exact configuration of the Pakistan Milgem Class ships has not made public. During the Aman Naval Exercise held in February 2019, Admiral Abbasi said that Pakistan ships will be fitted with a 16-Cell VLS behind the main gun for Chinese made medium-range air defense missiles probably LY-80/HHQ-16 variant.

The main offensive weapons of the Pakistan ship could be either Chinese C-802 or local Harbah ASCMs. A CGI image used during the ceremony shows Turkish Aselsan built Gökdeniz close-in weapon system on the Pakistan ship in place of the RAM missile launcher of the Turkish ships.

Turkish Naval Forces Day Commemorated With A Sail Parade

The 27th September, the anniversary of the Battle of Preveza, is celebrated as the Turkish Naval Forces Day.

On 27th September 1538, a naval battle for the supremacy in the Mediterranean was fought between the Ottoman Navy commandeered by Barbaros Hayrettin Pasa and the fleet of a Christian alliance assembled by Pope Paul III and commandeered by Andrea Doria. With the victory at Preveza and the subsequent victory in the Battle of Djerba in 1560, the Ottoman Empire successfully repulsed the efforts of Venice and Spain, the two principal Mediterranean powers, to stop the Turkish drive to control the Mediterranean.

To commemorate the day Turkish Naval Forces organized a sail parade through Istanbul. 8 warships and two special forces RHIB’s took part in the ceremony. All these ships minus TYCG Sancaktar are open for public on Friday afternoon and on Saturday in Istanbul. In all Turkey, 45 ships will be open for public to visit.

F-247 TCG Kemalreis the flagship of the Turkish Navy.

F-246 TCG Salihreis. She too has extra space and equipment to act as a flagship.

F-241 TCG Turgutreis. First-generation of MEKO 200 type frigates in service.

F-512 TCG Büyükada. The second Ada (Milgem) class corvette. She was launched 8 years ago on this day and commissioned 6 years ago again on this day.

F-511 TCG Heybeliada. The first indigenous warship constructed in Turkey. She was commissioned 8 years ago on this day.

L-403 TCG Sancaktar. The newest landing ship in inventory. She has extensive command and control facilities for land operations. 

P-335 TCG Atak. 

P-337 TCG İmbat. Both TCG Atak and TCG İmbat are the last generation of fast attack craft in the Turkish Naval Forces.

Albanian Patrol Vessels Visit Izmir

Albanian offshore patrol vessels ALS Oriku (left) and ALS Butrinti in İzmir Port in mid-July.

In mid-July, ALS Oriku arrived in İzmir, Turkey to replace her sister ALS Butrinti and.

The 42,8 meter long, boats have 260 tons of displacement. Their 20mm remotely controlled gun turrets were installed in 2018.

ALS Butrinti has patrolled on behalf of NATO Standing NATO Maritime Group Two Task Unit 01 since January 2018. Her replacement ALS Oriku will be deployed in the region until the end of the year.

While the boats are swapped in 6-month periods, the crews only serve for about 3 months. The 21-strong crew of ALS Oriku represents the 12. Albanian Contingent.

The Long Arm Of Turkish Coast Guard

The approximate site of the interception. It is 750 nautical miles away from the nearest Turkish naval base.

The Turkish Coast Guard made an illegal substance interception 750 nautical miles away from Turkey.

The operation was conducted somewhere 78 nautical miles off Tripoli, Libya and 150 nautical miles off Sfax, Tunisia. This is the most distant operation ever carried by the Turkish Coast Guard.

The Turkish flagged fishing boat M/V Pervin Oğulları was carrying 5000 kg of marijuana. This is the third long-distance drug bust of the Turkish Coast Guard

Acting on a tip-off, Turkish security forces established that suspected drug traffickers aboard M/V Pervin Oğulları sailed away from the Izmir, Turkey in early February to the coasts of Mauritania, Morocco, and Algeria, to acquire large amounts of drugs.

The drugs were intercepted on their way to Turkey before the traffickers were able to distribute them to smaller vessels before smuggling them into Turkey.

Two Dost class offshore patrol vessels of the Turkish Coast Guard, TCSG Umut and TCSG Yaşam took part in the operation and carried two helicopters and 25 law enforcement officers, 15 of them from the Gendarmerie.

The 6 crew of the fishing boat has been arrested along with 7 others in Turkey. The fishing boat was brought to Izmir, Turkey where it has started it’s ill-fated voyage.

Here is a 20-minute long video of about the operation including the footage of the actual boarding conducted at 04.00 am on 15 April 2019.

The commissioning of Dost class vessels has really increased the operational range of Turkish Coast Guard and it is nice to see that these vessels are deployed properly for long distance operations freeing up warships.

Where An Epoch Lies

Nusret

“Stop wayfarer! Unbeknownst to you this ground, You come and tread on, is where an epoch lies.”

18 March 1915 must have been an unforgettable day for a ship spotter.

A mighty Allied fleet consisting of HMS Queen Elizabeth, HMS Agamemnon, HMS Lord Nelson, HMS Inflexible, HMS Prince George, HMS Triump, HMS Ocean, HMS Majestic, HMS Swiftsure, HMS Vengeance, HMS Irresistible, HMS Albion from Royal Navy, Gaulois, Charlemagne, Bouvet, Suffren from French Navy were ready to fight the forts protecting Dardanelles.

The Royal Navy and French warships tried to force their way through the Dardanelles to affect the capture of Istanbul then capital of the Ottoman Empire. This, it was hoped, would take Turkey out of the war and enable the Allies to shore up the Russian war effort on the Eastern Front, so relieving pressure on the Western Front.

Most of the ships of the Allied Fleet were old or made nearly obsolete with the fast advance of the new ships of the Dreadnought area. The first class capital ships were kept at home to protect it.

Nevertheless, it was a fine and powerful Fleet and an epoch-changing fight.

Everything seemed to be on the side of the Allied naval forces until at around 14.00 on March 18, when a small cloud of yellowish smoke, which turned black afterward, came out of the starboard quarter of the French warship Bouvet. The old battleship had struck one of the mines laid ten days earlier by small Ottoman minelayer Nusret. Bouvet sank in a matter of minutes. After a very short time, HMS Inflexible and shortly later HMS Irresistible also struck mines planted by Nusret.

Of the 18 capital ships that sailed in the Dardanelles that morning HMS Ocean, HMS Irresistible and Bouvet never returned. HMS Inflexible and Gaulois had to be beached at the nearby island of Tenedos, in order for their men to be rescued. Suffren was heavily damaged by Turkish guns and later had to be docked at Malta for intensive repairs.

The failure of the naval forces forced the Allies to land troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula to capture it and so remove the lethal gun barriers. It led to bloody trench warfare and many thousands of dead on both sides.

As it dissipated over the waters the words of a famous Turkish poem that honors the sacrifice of the Gallipoli Campaign and its role in establishing nationhood rang through the minds of many who were there. One verse, in particular, seems to perfectly express Remembrance and the epic nature of the events experienced by all nations who fought at Gallipoli, but especially the Turkish people:

‘Stop wayfarer! Unbeknownst to you this ground
You come and tread on, is where an epoch lies;
Bend down and lend your ear, for this silent mound
Is the place where the heart of a nation sighs.’

TCG Gökçeada Deployed To The Indian Ocean

TCG Gökçeada heading into a sand storm. Photo: Turkish Naval Forces

TCG Gökçeda will start her goodwill visit to Doha, Qatar on 28th January 2019.

The frigate departed from Aksaz Naval Base on 13th January 2019 for a 3-month deployment to the Indian Ocean which will be her third. The frigate passed through the Suez Canal on 16th January and proceed to Djibouti her first port of call.

Following her visit to Qatar, TCG Gökçeada will sail to Pakistan and will take part in the exercise AMAN-19.

Pakistan started to organize AMAN multinational exercises in 2007 to promote regional cooperation and stability, greater interoperability and to display a united resolve against terrorism and crimes in the maritime domain including Piracy. AMAN-19 is the sixth such exercise planned.

After completion of the exercise, TCG Gökçeada will join CTF-151, the multinational task force against piracy off the coast of Somalia and will return home on 17th March 2019.

 

 

Turkish Anti-Ship Missiles Contract Signed

A test firing of Atmaca missile. Date unknown.

On 2nd November 2018, The Presidency of Defence Industries –former Undersecreteriat of Defence Industries- the main defense acquisition agency of Turkey announced that a contract for the serial production of Atmaca (Hawk) anti-ship missile was signed.

The contract was signed between PDI and Roketsan the leading company in the country for designing, developing and manufacturing rockets and missiles, as the main contractor. Aselsan the main defense electronics company is acting as sub-contractor and providing the RF seeker head and guidance section.

Since its start, the Atmaca Project has always been shrouded by thick layers of secrecy. And this habit continues still. Neither the value of the contract nor the number of missiles to be procured was revealed. The scheduled commissioning date of the missiles was also not made public. The press release about however mentioned that the first missiles are to be installed on board of the TCG İstanbul. TCG İstanbul is a İ class frigate currently under construction in Istanbul Naval Shipyard.

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