The Turkish Navy is one of the three branches of the Turkish Armed Forces. The mission of the Turkish Navy is national defense, although it also participates in coordinated security and humanitarian efforts as part of BLACKSEAFOR.
HISTORYTurkey has a long naval history as one of the most powerful nations in the Mediterranean, with an influential maritime role in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, the Persian Gulf and the Red, Black and Mediterranean Seas. The navy of the Ottoman Empire played was an important force during the First World War, for example. The modern Turkish Navy originated after the end of the First World War with the remnants of the naval forces of the Ottoman Empire. With the creation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, the navy underwent a program of modernization and reformation. This involved the purchase of new ships and submarines, and the overhaul of the remaining warships of the Ottoman fleet, including the TCG Yavuz and the TCG Turgut Reis. The Turkish Navy has since played an important role in the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974, when it carried an amphibious force to the island and provided essential support for the infantry.
The Turkish Navy is the eighth largest navy in the world. It currently has approximately 51,000 active personnel. The Turkish Navy is also the third largest navy in Europe, in terms of the total displacement of its fleet, which is 258,948 tons. The Turkish Navy has 19 frigates, 14 submarines, 7 corvettes and 108 fast attack craft. The navy also has 75 aircraft, the majority of which are helicopters. Other equipment belonging to the Turkish navy include mine warfare ships, landing ships and landing craft, patrol craft, survey ships, support ships, a transport ship, training ships, salvage ships and tugs.
The navy currently has four Gur class submarines, four Preveze class submarines and six Atilay class submarines. Its frigates are two Salih Reis class ships, two Barbados class, four Yavuz class, eight G class and three Tepe class vessels. The navy currently has a single Ada class corvette and six B class corvettes. The Turkish Navy’s fast attack boats are three in the Kilic I class, five Kilic II, two Yildiz class, four Ruzgar class, four Dogan class, eight Kartal class and seven Turk class.
The Turkish Navy is currently in the process of acquiring a number of new vessels. These include six new Type 214 AIP submarines, four TF 2000 class AAW frigates, four F 100 class frigates, seven Ada class corvettes, a Kilic II class fast attack boat and 16 ASW OPV class fast attack vessels. Two LST class landing ships, eight LCT class landing craft and a Submarine Rescue Mother Ship are also expected to join the navy.
The Turkish Navy is composed of four sections. These are the Turkish Fleet Command, the Northern and Southern Sea Area Commands and the Naval Training and Education Command.
The Turkish Navy has a number of Special Operations and Marine units. The two special forces are the Su Alti Taarruz or SAT and the Su Alti Savunma or SAS. The SAT is the special forces unit responsible for underwater attack. Its missions focus on the acquisition of intelligence, counter terrorism, amphibious assaults and the protection of VIPs. The SAS force is responsible for underwater defense, such as counter terrorism efforts, the protection of VIPs, coastal defense, clearing unexploded torpedoes and mines and disabling enemy weapons and vessels. The Amphibious Marines Brigade, which is based near Izmir, consists of three amphibious battalions, an artillery battalion, an MBT battalion and a support battalion, along with some company sized units. This brigade has about 4500 personnel. The navy also has a number of commando detachments.
The Commander in Chief of the Turkish Navy is the President of Turkey. The current President is Abdullah Gul.
The commander of the Turkish Armed Forces is the Chief of General Staff. During times of peace, the Chief of General Staff acts as commander, reporting to the Prime Minister. During wartime, the Chief of General Staff takes on the responsibility of Commander in Chief, on behalf of the President. The current Chief of General Staff is Isik Kosaner.
The Naval Commander is in charge of the Turkish Navy. The current commander is Admiral Esref Ugur Yigit.
The Turkish Navy supported the Turkish Army during the 1974 invasion of Cyprus, along with the Turkish Airforce. Turkey provides support as part of NATO, and the Turkish Navy is also part of the Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Group, which is available for humanitarian efforts and search and rescue operations in the Black Sea, as well as promoting security in the region. The Turkish Navy has also been involved in anti-piracy efforts, due to its strategic location in one of the most important areas for commercial shipping.