Turkish Naval Forces Command Gains Strength with New Ships
The Turkish Naval Forces Command (TNFC) continues to gain strength with new ships delivered, launched, or entering construction in the month of July. The launch ceremony of the KINALIADA corvette, the fourth and last of the ADA class corvettes, as well as the construction ceremony of the ISTANBUL frigate, the first of İ class frigates, was held at Istanbul Shipyard on July 3. The ceremony was attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan; General Hulusi Akar, Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces; Deputy Prime Minister Fikri Işık, who was Minister of National Defence at that time; Admiral Bülent Bostanoğlu, Commander of the Turkish Naval Forces; and many other guests. The KINALIADA was launched six months ahead of schedule, thanks largely to experiences gained in the MİLGEM project.
Full Support to Indigenous Defence Industry
Speaking at the ceremony, President Erdoğan emphasised that the time has come for Turkey to move the next stage in the defence industry, to become a country that is emulated rather than following others, and which produces and pioneers innovation rather than just consuming. President Erdoğan continued his speech as follows: “In any field, and among equivalent products and projects, we should place greater preference on our own companies and national organisations. Even if we may, on occasion, need to import some of our urgent requirements, indigenous resources should constitute the backbone of our national plans.” President Erdoğan noted that this approach should be followed even if it may entail certain sacrifices in terms of time and cost. “In fact, had we not followed this approach for the past 15 years, we would have been unable to carry out our antiterrorism efforts and cross-border operations, due to the implicit embargoes being imposed on our country in recent times. We also need to review the strategy behind efforts aimed at supporting our defence industry companies. We should quickly establish a system that will solve bottlenecks, challenges and problems, and will support everyone with an intellectual project in this field – regardless of its scope”, the President said.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, accompanied by high level officials attending the ceremony, in front of KINALIADA
President Erdoğan continued his speech as follows: “From time to time, I hear about negative developments, some of them brimming with ill-intention, that break the motivation, resolve and courage of our entrepreneurs, and which stem either from indifference or the taking sides in competition. Whatever their reason may be, it is absolutely out of the question for us to tolerate attitudes that may prevent Turkey’s breakthroughs in the defence industry. We will personally oppose anyone who adopts such attitudes. All entrepreneurs and companies who are working diligently for their country and nation – while of course seeking to make a profit from their ventures – and who are really competent and productive, as well as sincere in their efforts, should know that we are on their side. As I always say, to be able to assert claims, you also need to have the means to support these claims. Turkey is a country with great claims for itself, and also for its kin, brothers and friends. To be able to realise these claims, we first need to raise our defence industry facilities to the highest level.”
Noting that while it is significant for Turkey to have reached $5 billion in production and $1.6 billion in exports in the defence industry last year, President Erdoğan said that this still lags far behind their targets. He stressed that, as a country that aiming to fully eliminate external dependency in the defence industry by 2023, Turkey needs to take the steps at a faster pace.
President Erdoğan expressed that Turkey is also determined to build its own aircraft carrier.
President Erdoğan performing first weld of the ISTANBUL frigate.
A Driving Force in Motion
Deputy Prime Minister Fikri Işık also shared the following information during his speech: “We have built the first four ships in the MİLGEM project, which are all corvettes. In addition to feeling deservedly proud of this achievement, we are witnessing another exciting development today. We are now building the fifth ship – whose construction will commence as an İ class frigate – once again by using indigenous means and based on an indigenous design. Designed entirely at an indigenous level, the MİLGEM project has achieved a local participation rate of over 65 percent. The construction and equipping of our ships were carried out with the participation of over 50 domestic institutions, organisations, and companies. In this regard, the MİLGEM project makes us proud as one of the most comprehensive projects successfully conducted by public institutions, universities, private sector, and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) working in coordination… The total budget of our ongoing ship building projects has reached ₺20 billion. We expect that this figure will exceed ₺40 billion with the implementation of the frigate, assault boat, auxiliary vessel and fast boat projects we are planning for the coming period.”
KINALIADA launched by Emine Erdoğan, President Erdoğan’s spouse.
Admiral Bostanoğlu also delivered a speech at the ceremony, in which he commented on the MİLGEM project as follows: “The success of our ADA class corvettes has become a strong and productive driving force for our defence industry and navy. As may be seen from the transformation from corvettes to frigates, we can say that this driving force is in fully moving forwards. I believe, and can even say that I am certain, that it will pave the way for much larger and more important projects in the future.”
Following the speeches, President Erdoğan performed the first weld of the ISTANBUL frigate, thus starting off the construction of the ship. Afterwards, Emine Erdoğan, President Erdoğan’s spouse, expressed her wishes: “KINALIADA corvette, I am now launching you to sea. I hope that you would prove most beneficial and auspicious for our country and nation, and raise the glorious Turkish flag in seas with honour and success. May luck be with you, may the seas be tranquil, and may your bow stay clear.” and launched the KINALIADA corvette to sea. The ceremony ended after the officials and workers involved in the construction of the ship presented memorial objects, reflecting the meaning and importance of the day, to President Erdoğan and protocol members.
Now is the Turn of Logistic Support Ship
ÜSTEĞMEN ARİF EKMEKÇİ logistic support ship
ÜSTEĞMEN ARİF EKMEKÇİ, the second ship built by the Selah Shipyard in the context of the Logistic Support Ship Project initiated by the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries in order to meet the need of the Turkish Naval Forces Command, was launched to sea with a ceremony held at Selah Shipyard on July 8. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım; General Hulusi Akar, Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces; Deputy Prime Minister Fikri Işık, who was the Minister of National Defence at the time; Ahmet Arslan, Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications; Admiral Bülent Bostanoğlu, Commander of the Turkish Naval Forces; Admiral Veysel Kösele, Fleet Commander; and many other guests. In addition, the mother, sister and nephews of Lieutenant Junior Grade Arif Ekmekçi, after whom the ship is named, and who was martyred in 1993 during submarine egress training, were also present at the ceremony.
Following the speeches, the ceremony ended with the launching of the ÜSTEĞMEN ARİF EKMEKÇİ logistic support ship by Şule Akar, the spouse of Commander of the Turkish Armed Forces General Hulusi Akar, in accordance with naval customs and traditions.
Meanwhile, the YÜZBAŞI GÜNGÖR DURMUŞ, the first ship of the project, was launched on October 8, 2016. Both ships are expected to be delivered to the Turkish Naval Forces Command over the course of 2018.
TCG IŞIN on Duty
The TCG IŞIN (A-583) Auxiliary Rescue and Salvage (ARS) Ship was delivered to the Turkish Naval Forces Command with a ceremony held at İstanbul Shipyard on July 22. Vice Admiral Hasan Şükrü Korlu, Commander of Northern Sea Area, and many other guests attended the ceremony.
Together with the AKIN, the TCG IŞIN was built by İstanbul Shipyard in the context of the Auxiliary Rescue and Salvage Ship project of the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries. The ship is equipped to locate, identify and rescue the wreckage of aircraft, ships or submarines that have sunk due to accidents.
Atilla Çiftçigüzeli, CEO of Istanbul Shipyard, and Vice Admiral Hasan Şükrü Korlu
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