The “Missing Turkish Warships” Farce – An Epilog

F-240 TCG Yavuz,

F-240 TCG Yavuz

15 days ago, Turkey lived its longest night. There were many stories, rumors and allegations in the air before the dust settled  down and we could gain a better inside to the things that happened.

One of the rumors was that 14 warships of Turkish Navy were missing after the failed coup attempt and they may be seeking refuge in other countries.  This story was initiated in British Press (here, here and here) and spread like a wild-fire. I have expressed my thoughts before. Now I am trying to find a closure to that story.

In the last 15 days there has been no follow-up stories. No additional information such as the names and types of the ships has surfaced either.

While it is most difficult to prove something has not happened. When you have eliminate all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth as Sherlock Holmes says. Thus I am trying to eliminate all which is impossible:

  • It is impossible to hide 14 warships in the confined waters of the Aegean, the Black Sea and Mediterranean. These ships would have been observed either from the land based observations stations from hundreds of civilian and many military warships cruising in these seas.
  • It is impossible for foreign press to be silence about a Turkish warship entering their port and asking for refuge.
  • It is impossible for these 14 ships to stay on open seas without replenishing their fuel, water and other provisions. Depending their type they must be running low on fuel, water and food.
  • It is impossible for a government or a naval force to remain silent about such a big and important story. If 14 ships were really missing, someone either from Turkey or abroad would have talked about it by now.

Turkish General Staff published the numbers of discharged soldiers and number of the vehicles used during the coup attempt. According to this official declaration only 3 ships were used.

The involvement of the commander and the executive commander of TCG Yavuz was known since 15th July, as they have detained the Commander of The Fleet, Admiral Kösele on board during that night.

It was published that Type 80 class Coast Guard boat, TCSG-96 has left its port during the night of 15th July, without an order. The boat later returned to its port without any incidents.

It is not clear, from Turkish General Staff’s publication, whether they consider TCSG-96 among the above mentioned 3 ships. If not, then there were 3 Turkish Navy warships and one Coast Guard went rogue on that night

If so -which would be wrong, since a coast guard boat is not a warship- then there is one unidentified ship left that took part in the coup attempt.

The “Missing Turkish Warships” Farce

Turkey is in a very turbulent situation since the failed coup attempt last Saturday.

There is a lot of information, misinformation and disinformation about the things happened during the last weekend. One of the is the story about 14 missing warship of Turkish Navy.

As far as I know the story was originated in British newspapers and spread like a wild-fire.

Several Turkish navy ships are still unaccounted for, their commanders suspected to be among the plotters who sought to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Admiral Veysel Kosele, the commander of the Turkish navy, has not been heard from since the failed coup on Friday, a source told The Times.

It is currently unknown whether he was part of the coup or was tricked on to the boat after coup plotters told him there was a terrorist attack and then taken hostage, local media reports suggested.

The 14 missing ships were reportedly on active duty in either the Aegean or the Black Sea and have not tried to make contact with naval headquarters or report back to the port.

It is suspected they may be heading to Greek ports. On Saturday, eight Turkish military officers took a helicopter to Greece to seek asylum.

Despite several days the sources that originated this story failed to show evidence such as the names of the missing ships or more details about them to further support their story.

There are also some gross factual errors in the story. Admiral Kösele is the Commander of Turkish Fleet. Admiral Bülent Bostanoğlu is the Commander of Turkish Naval Forces. And the Command of Turkish Fleet is one of the subcommands of the Naval Forces. And the whereabouts of Admiral Kösele is well know. He was interned on board of TCG Yavuz for a couple of hours and he was released later.

The Black Sea and the Aegean are too small for 14 ships to hide. Furthermore there Greek and Russian Armed Forces are tracking the movement of Turkish warships. They would announce to the world, with a lot of Schadenfreude, if there where any Turkish ships in their ports.

I know that there are at least 4 ships (one mine hunter, one command ship, one frigate and one submarine) in Black Sea taking part in Romanian naval exercise. They have not returned yet. Thus an uniformed land based source may think that they are still unaccounted for.
I sincerely hope that this 14 missing Turkish Warships farce will end very soon and we can focus on things that are real and matter.

Turkish Company Will Upgrade Pakistan’s Submarines

Pakistan’s Ministry of Defence Production selected Turkish company Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik (STM) to upgrade Pakistani Khalid class submarines.

The contract was signed on 22 June and is about the upgrade of one submarine with an option for two. Pakistan operates 3 Khalid submarines.

The work on the first submarine will be finished in 45 months. Pakistani media said the modernisation programme would focus on mission systems and sensors within the submarine, including a new combat management system. According to media reports STM has beaten the French company DCNS that designed and constructed the Khalid class submarines.

This contract is a major milestone for STM. STM was established in 1991 to provide system engineering, technical support, project management, technology transfer and logistics support services for Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM). The contract is important since Turkish does not operate any French designed submarines. All Turkish Navy submarines are Type 209 variants. Thus STM will have to develop its solution on a new and previously unknown platform. This might be a challenge.

STM is also the main contractor of the logistic support ship currently being constructed in Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works Ltd in Pakistan.

This is however is not the first time Turkey is helping Pakistan Navy to maintain its submarines. Tench class submarine PNS Ghazi was sent to Turkey for a $1.5 million refit in 1967-68.


New Maritime Patrol Planes For Turkish Navy?

TCB701 kopya

A contract was signed on 2008 to buy 10 ATR 72-500 ASW from Italy. 8 years later we are still waiting patiently for the planes. All we got in the mean time are two unarmed ATR-72-600 planes for utility missions.

TCB652 kopya

6 of these C-235 ASW planes are the backbone of Turkish airborne ASWand AsuW missions. When the acquisition project of these planes started in 1998, CASA was still an independent company, the C-295 has just made its maiden flight and its ASW version did not exist even in the dreams of the CASA/EADS/Airbus Military engineers.  P-8A Poseidon was not even on the drawing board.

ANKARA, Turkey — The Turkish Navy is considering the purchase of long-range patrol aircraft to add to its fleet of CN-235 and ATR72s, navy and procurement officials said.
“The requirement comes in line with the government’s foreign policy priorities,” explained one procurement official.
Navy officials say the planned aircraft should be able to fly 1,000 to 1,200 nautical miles away from their main base in Turkey and fly 12 to 15 hours.
“Our current fleet may not respond to our future roles,” said one Navy official. “The new patrol aircraft should ideally have anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare roles.”
Naval industry sources say the Turkish description of the requirement would probably point to the Boeing P-8 Poseidon (formerly the Multimission Maritime Aircraft or MMA). The P-8 Poseidon was developed for the US Navy by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, modified from the 737-800ERX.
The P-8 also conducts shipping interdiction, along with an electronic signals intelligence role which involves carrying torpedoes, depth charges, SLAM-ER missiles, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and other weapons. It is able to drop and monitor sonobuoys. The aircraft is designed to operate in conjunction with the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime Surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle.
Procurement officials say they hope to issue a request for information for the planned acquisition soon.
“We are hoping to see a competitive contest,” one official said.
But industry sources say the description of the acquisition narrows options.
“There will not be too many bidders, judging from the description of the requirement,” said one source.

The technical requirement describes a plane that is able to fly 1,000 to 1,200 nautical miles away from their main base in Turkey and fly 12 to 15 hours. As far as I know there is only two planes exist that can fill this expectations. Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon and Ilyushin’s Il-38.

Given the political climate between Turkey and Russia I think a snowball in hell has better odds than Mr. Putin selling military airplanes to Turkey. This leaves us with one real contender: P-8A

I have no idea who the unnamed procurement official was, but I am glad that I am not in his/her shoes. It will be very hard to create an illusion of  competitive contest with one contestant.

Australia paid for 8 P-8A planes USD2.88 billion and India paid for 8 P-8I Neptune (Indian designation) planes USD2.1 billion. If this procurement project goes ahead it will be most expensive acquisitions for Turkish Naval Aviation. There are better places where we can wisely spend a couple billion US Dollars such as the air defence ship project TF-2000.

I will be most surprised if this announced interest in P-8A Poseidon planes materializes into a contract very soon. The acquisitions projects for maritime patrol and ASW planes are beleaguered with massive delays.

For further reading:

12 Years After The Contract Thales Finally Delivers Maritime Patrol Aircraft To Turkish Navy

Finaly: The First ATR-72 Maritime Utility Plane Is Delivered

Turkish Navy To Get 8 ATR-72-600 Planes Instead Of 10 As Originaly Agreed

Finally: The First Maritime Surveillance Plane Officially Inaugurated

First flight of CN235 ASW for Meltem programme

Deniz Yıldızı 2016 Naval Exercise Started In Black Sea


TCG Tekirdağ


TCG Karamürselbey


TCG İmbat

The annual naval exercise Deniz Yıldızı (Sea Star) has started in Black Sea today. The exercise will end on 5th April 2016.

The scope of the exercise shows that Turkish Navy intends to show a strong presence in the Black Sea. According to Turkish Navy website There will be live firings against high-speed airborne and seaborne targets. For me the most noteworthy aspect of this exercise will be the simultaneous port visits of Turkish naval units in Varna, Constanta, Odessa and Batumi. 4 out of 5 Black Sea nations will be visited on the next week-end on 3rd and 4th April 2016 by various Turkish warships. This is an impressive way of showing the flag, an important message.

The following ships along with two submarines were observed making a northbound passage through Bosphorus in the last couple days:

Number Name Type
S-XXX TCG Submarine
S-XXX TCG Submarine
P-337 TCG İmbat
P-1207 TCG Tekirdağ
M-262 TCG Enez Mine hunter
M-267 TCG Ayvalık Mine hunter
M-268 TCG Akçakoca Mine hunter
L-401 TCG Ertuğrul Landing ship
NL-124 TCG Karamürselbey Landing ship

German Company Under Investigation For Bribery In Turkish Submarine Deal

State Prosecutors of the city state Bremen have opened a second front in their case against Atlas Elektronik.

Authorities are investigating Atlas Elektronik a joint venture between ThyssenKrupp and Airbus since 2013, for possible kickbacks in the submarine business with Greece. Some irregularities came on with Turkish Reis class (Type 214) project according to the spokesperson of Bremen City Prosecutor’s Office.

It is suspected that the company may have bribed Turkish officials. On 16 February 2016, related business documents and data material was confiscated from the Headquarters of Atlas Electronic in Bremen.
on the premises safe.

The investigations in Greece revealed that bribes totaling €62 million paid for armament contracts between 2000 and 2007.

In Turkish Type 214 project Atlas Elektronik is responsible for delivering very critical and highly specialized combat management system ISUS-90/72 and active and passive sonars.

It is too early to say whether this new investigation will have any negative effects on delivery of Atlas Electronic supplied items.

Turkish Coast Guard Order Of Battle

A few weeks earlier I have compiled the order of battle of Turkish Navy here. This is the order of battle for Turkish Coast Guard:

Active Building Planned
Offshore patrol vessels 4
Large patrol craft 58
Small patrol craft 47
Control craft 85
Search and rescue craft 44
Helicopters 14
Planes 3

A detailed version of the above list:

Active Building Planned
Dost class off shore patrol vessels 4
Type 80 class 18
Sar 35 class 4
Sar 33 class 10
Türk class 4
Kaan 33 class 13
Kaan 29 class 9
Kaan 19 class 17
Kaan 15 class 18
Piket  class 2
Hector 42 class 10
Saget class 23
Various RHIP type craft 62
Search and rescue craft 44
AB-412 helicopters 14
CN-235 MPA planes 3

For more information about the future shipbuilding project for Turkish Navy and Turkish Coast Guard, here is an interesting read.

Turkish Parliament Extended The Anti-Piracy Mission Of Turkish Navy

On 10 February 2016, The Grand National Assembly of Turkey, extended the presence of Turkish Navy in  Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, and adjacent seas.

The first bill allowing Turkish government to deploy Turkish Naval Forces for anti piracy operations was accepted in 10 February 2009. It was extended in one year periods ever since.

Turkish warship are  tasked with:

  • Performing reconnaissance and patrol duties,
  • Calling on ships suspected of piracy/ armed robbery, on the radio, boarding them if their flag country approves and interfering in accordance with the international law if the ship is not showing any flag,
  • Escorting and protecting merchant ships,
  • Helping merchant ships under attack of pirates/sea robbers,
  • Intervening, stopping, neutralizing, and confiscating any vessels used by pirates/sea robbers, and using appropriate force if necessary,
  • Arresting and detaining pirates/sea robbers and armed persons in these vessels,
  • Accepting the representatives of the countries that will prosecute pirates/ armed robbers on board, for the preparations of judicial proceedings, according to the UN resolution 1851.
  • Arresting and detaining, pirates/armed robbers on board until they are being handed over to the countries that will prosecute them,
  • Turning in, the suspects of pirates/sea robbers with the exception of the case that these are Turkish citizens, to the authorities the nation where the pirates/sea robbers will be prosecuted,
  • Executing all kinds of policing duties including interrogation, collecting evidence.

Apart from the two task force deployments in 2011 and 2014, since 2009 following Turkish frigates took part in anti-piracy operations in the region:

Number Name Start of Deployment End of Deployment
F-496 TCG Gökova 29.10.2008 06.12.2008
F-491 TCG Giresun 17.02.2009 17.06.2009
F-490 TCG Gaziantep 17.06.2009 06.10.2009
F-495 TCG Gediz 21.06.2009 15.10.2009
F-496 TCG Gökova 16.10.2009 08.02.2010
F-492 TCG Gemlik 08.02.2010 24.04.2010
F-493 TCG Gelibolu 27.02.2010 13.08.2010
F-494 TCG Gökçeada 05.08.2010 22.10.2010
F-490 TCG Gaziantep 22.10.2010 25.01.2011
F-491 TCG Giresun 25.01.2011 15.06.2011
F-495 TCG Gediz 18.09.2011 07.12.2011
F-491 TCG Giresun 28.11.2011 19.06.2012
F-492 TCG Gemlik 07.06.2012 10.12.2012
F-496 TCG Gökova 10.12.2012 15.06.2013
F-497 TCG Göksu 06.06.2013 07.12.2013
F-493 TCG Gelibolu 07.12.2013 14.03.2014
F-494 TCG Gökçeada 10.03.2014 17.06.2014
F-492 TCG Gemlik 31.08.2014 18.12.2014
F-492 TCG Gemlik 5.8.2015 29.12.2015

Turkish Navy Order Of Battle

It has been a while since I have last updated the order of battle for Turkish Navy. Here is the current one:

Active Building Planned
Submarines (Note-1) 13 1 5
Frigates (Note-2) 16 8
Corvettes 8 2
Fast Attack Craft – Missile (Note-3) 21 4
Patrol Craft (Note-4) 34
Mine hunters/Mine sweepers (Note-5) 15 6
LPD (Note-6)  1 1
LST 4 2
LCT/LCU/LCM/LCAC (Note-7) 33  8
Fleet Support Tankers (Note-8) 2 2 1
Tankers / Replenishment Ships 4
Training Ships (Note-9) 10 2
Salvage Ships 2 3
Helicopters (Note-10) 33 6
Planes 8 6

A detailed version of the above list:

Active Building Planned
209 Type 1400 submarines 8
209 Type 1200 submarines 5
214 Type 1800 submarines 1 5
MEKO 200 class frigates 8
Gabya (Perry) class frigates 8
TF-2000 class frigates 4
İstif class frigates 4
Milgem class corvettes 2 2
Burak (Type A 69) class corvettes 6
Kılıç class fast attack craft 9
Yıldız class fast attack craft 2
Doğan class fast attack craft 8
Kartal class fast attack craft 2
Turkish type fast attack craft 4
Tuzla class patrol craft 16
Patrol craft 18
Aydın class minehunters 6
Edincik (Circé) class minehunters 5
Mine hunters/sweepers 4 6
LPD  1 1
LST 4 2
Support tankers 6 2 1
Training ships 10 2
Salvage ships 2 3
AB-212 ASW helicopters 9
S-70B ASW helicopters 24
ATR-72 ASW planes 2 6
CN-235 ASW planes 6

Note 1: The construction of the first Type 214 class submarine TCG Pirireis has started on 10th October 2015.
Note 2: The second batch of 4 Ada class corvettes has been enlarged to the new İstif class frigates.
Note 3: Procurement of 4 (plus 6 optional) fast attack of local design armed with missiles is planned.
Note 4: Turkish Navy decommissioned a number of older patrol boats as new boats are commissioned. Thus the real number may less than 34.
Note 5: The procurement of 6 new mine sweepers is planned.
Note 6: The construction of the first LPD TCG Anadolu will start in Autumn 2016.
Note 7: 6 LCM and 2 LCAC may be procured with the LPD but the acquisition of these smaller vessels is not definite yet.
Note 8:Two oil tankers are constructed by a private shipyard. Additionally procurement of one fleet replenishment ship is planed.
Note 9: It is planned to acquire two sailing training ships.
Note 10: The AB-212 helicopter are most used for utility duties. 6 additional Seahawk have been ordered.

For more information about the future shipbuilding project for Turkish Navy and Turkish Coast Guard, here is an interesting read.


Russian Warship Fires Warning Shots To A Turkish Fishing Vessel


Smetlivy seen here heading to the Mediterranean in September.

Today the Russian destroyer Smetlivy and the Turkish fishing boat Geçiciler Balıkçılık got dangerously close. The Russian warship had to fire warning shots to the unarmed Turkish fishing vessel to turn away. The incident happened 22 kilometers east of the Greek Island Lemnos in the Norther Aegean.

Earlier today the crew of Russia’s “Smetlivy” destroyer was forced to use firearms to prevent a collision with a Turkish seiner vessel in the northern part of the Aegean Sea, according to Russia’s Ministry of Defense.
Russian Frigate Uses Firearms to Prevent Collision With Turkish Vessel in Aegean Sea
The destoyer’s crew spotted an approaching Turkish ship at a distance of approximately one kilometer (0.6 miles). The seiner did not attempt to establish radio contact with the Russian ship and did not respond to signal lamps or flairs.
Upon the Turkish seiner’s dangerously close approach to the anchored “Smetlivy” at a distance of 600 meters (656 yards), the Russian patrol ship fired a shot beyond the hitting range of the firearms to avoid collision.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Turkish vessel immediately changed its course and, without contacting the Russian crew, kept moving by the “Smetlivy” destroyer at a distance of 540 meters (590 yards).

The above was the Russian version of the event. The Turkish version is different:

However, Muzaffer Gecici, who is the owner of the Turkish vessel Geciciler Balikcilik, has flatly denied the Russian claims saying that his boat and the Russian warship had a distance of at least 1 mile (1.6 km). 
He also stated that the Russian warship was not on the move and nobody heard any warning shots from the destroyer, adding that his vessel is technologically well-equipped and that he has already given footage from the incident to the Turkish Coast Guard. 
Meanwhile, the Russian ministry has released another statement after it summoned Turkey’s military naval attache in Moscow, Rear Admiral Ahmet Gunes, saying that the Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov had “a conversation” with Gunes.  
The statement has puzzlingly tried to link the latest incident in the Aegean with Russia’s “counter-terrorism tasks in Syria” blaming Turkey with “reckless actions” against “the Russian military contingent” in the country.
The statement has also claimed that the Turkish vessel, which is a small civilian fisher boat, was able to provoke the Russian military guard ship Smetlivy.

The Russian Navy should start to use acoustic hailing devices. These devices have a very powerful audio output capability with a vert focused narrow beam. They can make your message, be heard in large distances miles away. With the aid of these devices a warship can hail and warn any other vessel in her vicinity that does not respond to radio contact, to signal lamps or flairs before starting to shot.

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