Turkey vulnerable to rising Russian power in the Black Sea

Turkey got suckered into become a US clone and could pay badly if not waking up.


PRO-RUSSIAN GUNMEN walk past the mayor’s office in Donetsk, Ukraine, on Wednesday. Photo: REUTERS

The Jerusalem Post
By Michael Tanchum
19 April 2014

With the annexation of Crimea, Turkey faces a stronger and bolder Russian naval power in the Black Sea. A resurgent Russia may be tempted to exploit its temporary naval dominance to alter current Black Sea energy exploitation and transportation arrangements more in its favor and to the detriment of Turkey and its partners in the Caucasus. The politically motivated stoppage of Turkey’s National Warship Project’s production schedule has created a window of vulnerability in Turkey’s Black Sea naval defenses in the face of rapidly rising Russian naval power.

Background:

The $3 billion “National Warship” Project, known by its Turkish abbreviation MILGEM, seeks to upgrade the Turkish fleet by replacing and augmenting its older foreign-made warships with eight domestically produced Ada-class anti-submarine warfare corvettes and subsequently four intermediate-class TF 100 frigates. After gaining experience from the building of the slightly larger but more lethal TF 100 anti-air warfare frigates, Turkey then intends to build a series of TF 2000 frigates. Double the size of the TF 100, the TF 2000 anti-air warfare frigate will significantly advance the Turkish fleet’s transformation into a blue-water navy.

Aside from being an intermediate phase for the development of the TF 2000, the TF 100 frigates are of present vital importance as replacements for the German-made Meko 200 frigates that form an essential component of Turkey’s force projection in the Black Sea. The TF 100 frigates will be the first Turkish vessels to carry the American-manufactured RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) system capable of countering the current generation of supersonic anti-ship missiles.

Prior to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the head of Turkey’s Undersecretariat of Defense Industries Murat Bayar publicly acknowledged the need to replace the Meko 200 frigates with the ESSM-equipped TF 100s by 2020.

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