Turkey Is Ready to Build Aircraft Carriers: Erdogan

Turkey Is Ready to Build Aircraft Carriers: Erdogan
Mon Jun 20, 2016 10:18:28

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his country’s defense ministry is now capable of building full-fledged aircraft carriers.


A Turkish naval destroyer (file photo)

Erdogan made the announcement at the opening ceremony of a naval shipyard in Istanbul, RT reported on Sunday.

"There isn't any obstacle to producing our own aircraft carrier. It is possible with this determined government and state. Turkey cannot fall into laziness in the defense and military issues,” he said.

He noted that the Turkish navy can begin to make aircraft carriers as soon as 2021, by which its amphibious assault ship, the TCG Anadolu, is expected to have been built.

The TCG Anadolu is set to become Ankara’s biggest and most expensive warship. Her specifics are yet to be released, but warships of similar class are capable of carrying 10 f-35 Lockheed martin jets, several helicopters, and some 900 troops.

Turkey, a NATO member, currently maintains a heavy naval presence in the Black Sea, which Erdogan claims has become a “Russian lake.”

In the past, Turkey has called on NATO to bolster its presence in the Black Sea, while Russia maintains the Western military alliance's buildup in the region is a danger to cooperation among Black Sea countries.


A solider stands guard on Romanian frigate "Regina Maria" of the NATO Standing Maritime Group-2 as it takes part in a military drill on the Black Sea, 60km from Constanta city March 16, 2015. (AFP)

Who Needs a Black Sea War?

On Friday, Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boiko Borisov ruled out his country’s participation in NATO plans to form a joint naval taskforce in the Black Sea aimed at countering Russia’s presence in the region.

“I always say that I want the Black Sea to see sailboats, yachts, large boats with tourists and not become an arena of military action ... I do not need a war in the Black Sea,” he said at a press conference.

In this April 5, 2015, US Navy handout image, the USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109)(R) and the Romanian corvette ROS Sebastian (F 264) operate together during a passing exercise in the Black Sea. (AFP)

The creation of the new taskforce will be discussed at a July summit in Warsaw. It is planned to be comprised of a joint fleet made of the navies of NATO Black Sea states, namely Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.

“To send warships as a fleet against Russian ships exceeds the limit of what I can allow…To deploy destroyers, aircraft carriers near [the resort cities of] Bourgas or Varna during the tourist season is unacceptable,” he added.

Senior officials in Moscow have repeatedly accused NATO of seeking confrontation, describing its military buildup as a security threat to Europe. Russia has also criticized NATO’s expansionist policy to include countries in the Western Balkan region, saying the move directly harms Russia’s strategic interests in the area.

The alliance has also stepped up its military buildup near Russia’s borders since it suspended all ties with Moscow in April 2014 after the Black Sea Crimean Peninsula re-integrated into the Russian Federation following a referendum.

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