Will The Mediterranean Become A ‘Turkish Lake’ Again?

The Ottoman empire, even as early as the 14th century, was a naval power that rose to prominence in the 16th century at her height when the Mediterranean became a “Turkish lake”. This culminated at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, which while not annihilating the Ottoman Empire as a naval power, put her as a naval power into terminal decline that has not since seriously reversed.

Following the US victory in World War II, through the Gladio program the US and Germany began building Turkey into a military power so that she would act as a counterbalance to Soviet influence in the Caucasus, Balkans, and Middle East. The program was arguably a success, but with one small problem- it prepared the way for the revival of the Ottoman Empire that menaced Europe for centuries.

Now with Turkey approaching her centennial celebration as a ‘secular’ state, and with Erdogan’s visions of reviving the Ottoman Empire at hand, the Daily Sabah reports that Turkey is boasting that she is one of ten nations in the world who can construct and build her own battleships, and that she has cut an agreement with Pakistan to do just that.

resident Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Saturday that Turkey is among 10 countries that can design, build and maintain their own warships.

“We will bolster our navy power in five years with five major projects,” Erdoğan said during a speech at the launch ceremony of an Istanbul frigate.

Along with the launch of the Istanbul frigate, the ceremony also marked the groundbreaking of the third ship to be constructed for the Pakistani navy under the MILGEM project. Erdoğan pointed out the exceptional defense relations between the two countries, which “has great potential.”

“We are moving a historical brotherhood between Turkey and Pakistan one step further. Just like Turkey, Pakistan also struggles against many terrorist threats in a difficult region. I believe that both countries can help each other in defying these threats,” he said.

The Pakistan Navy signed a contract with Turkey’s Military Factory and Shipyard Management Corporation (ASFAT) in July 2018 to acquire four MILGEM-class ships.

The MILGEM project was initiated in 2000 to locally design and build a fleet of multipurpose corvettes and frigates that will replace older ships. Turkey has built four corvettes so far in line with the program, namely the TCG Heybeliada, the TCG Büyükada, the TCG Burgazada and the TCG Kınalıada, while the fifth vessel, the first MILGEM I-class frigate of its kind, the Istanbul Frigate, was recently added to the inventory of the Turkish military with Saturday’s ceremony.

Speaking about naval capabilities, Erdoğan hinted at some details of the new projects, signaling major improvements in the Turkish navy’s submarine, aircraft carrier and naval defense capacity.

He said a new aircraft carrier, which will be designed indigenously, will promote Turkey to the top league in the naval field. Gökdeniz systems, the naval equivalent of Korkut low-altitude air defense, will be added to the inventory of the Turkish military with the Istanbul frigate, he added. (source)

The Ottoman Empire never died. It just went dormant, waiting for its revival at the right time in history.

With Turkey on the rise again, it is not an unreasonable question to ask if she will again make an attempt to repeat the past, and in that, attempting to conquer the Mediterranean and assert not just political, but religious authority over it in the name of Islam.

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