Turkey’s first Type 214 class submarine TCG Piri Reis hit the seas on Dec. 22 with a ceremony held in the northwestern province of Kocaeli’s Gölcük district.
“Today, we gathered here for the docking of Piri Reis. As of 2020, a submarine will go into service each year. By 2027, all six of our submarines will be at our seas for service,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said during a speech at the ceremony. “Our aim is to promptly actualize our national submarine project.”
During the ceremony, the first weld of TCG Seydi Ali Reis was also carried out.
TCG Piri Reis, the first vessel of Turkey’s New Type Submarine Project, is planned to start operating in 2020. The project, carried out by the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries, will add a total of six vessels to the Turkish Navy’s inventory.
The Type 214 class vessels are regarded as a first for the Turkish Navy due to its air-independent propulsion characteristics brought by their fuel cell technology. The vessels also can deploy heavyweight torpedoes and anti-ship missiles and lay mines against targets, both at sea and on the ground.
Apart from Piri Reis, five more vessels of the project are expected to hit the seas by 2027, providing an upper hand to Turkish naval forces.
As Piri Reis was deployed to the sea, the project’s second submarine Hızırreis’ outfitting and two vessels’ hull production phases are ongoing.
“With the policies our country follows, we seek the establishment of rights, which have been delayed. The works we carry out in the eastern Mediterranean, Syria, and Libya are in this context,” Erdoğan said.
“We have no intention to seize anybody’s rights. We do not have the luxury to pursue this silenced and shy policy. If we give up on the process we started with Turkish Cyprus and Libya, they will not let a seashore to even cast a fishing line,” the president said.
He also accused Greece of attempting to extort Turkey’s rights at the seas, saying Israel “too” has the same intentions.
“We will not comply with an order in which Turkey will gain 1 percent from fishing,” he said, adding that Turkey has the longest seaboard in the Mediterranean.
Libya deal abides by int’l law
Erdoğan also said that the maritime jurisdiction agreement Turkey and Libya hammered last month “complies with international law.”
“We also took some steps regarding this some 10 years ago,” he said. He also conveyed that the said agreement was discussed and agreed with Libya’s toppled leader Muammar Gaddafi.
The maritime zone overlap allows for such an agreement to be signed, Erdoğan said.
“We have every right to carry out all kinds of cooperation and joint works. Turkey will not back out of the steps it took both in Libya and Syria,” he said.
“We will evaluate every opportunity in land, sea and air. If needed, we will increase military support in Libya,” he added.