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Third Annual Security Conference: Security Risks and Transformation -Euro-Atlantic and Regional Perspectives
 
Sofia, 19-20 November, 2005

TRANSFORMATION IN THE BLACK SEA AND CAUCASUS REGIONS

Rear Adm. Cem Gürdeniz, Chief Plans and Policy, Turkish Navy HQ


FIRST OF ALL , ON BEHALF OF THE TURKISH DELEGATION I WOULD LIKE TO EXTEND OUR THANKS TO CSD FOR THEIR KIND INVITATION.

DISTINGUISHED MINISTERS, AMBASSADORS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, IN MY PRESENTATION, I WILL FOCUS ON TRANSFORMATION IN THE BLACK SEA HOWEVER WITH MORE EMPHASIS ON THE MARITIME SECURITY.

THE BLACKSEA BASIN IS NO DOUBT GAINING GREATER STRATEGIC SIGNIFICANCE AND TRANSFORMING ITSELF, PARTICULARLY WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF WIDER EUROPEAN SECURITY AS WELL AS GLOBAL SECURITY.

FOLLOWING THE FALL OF BERLIN WALL , THE TRANSFORMATION OF BLACKSEA AND CAUCASUS MANIFESTED ITSELF UNDER THE FOLLOWING AREAS:

• INCREASE IN REGIONAL COOPERATION
• DEMOCRATIZATION
• PARTIAL INTEGRATION TO EURO ATLANTIC SECURITY SYSTEM
• ERUPTION OF REGIONAL CONFLICTS
• INTEGRATION TO GLOBAL ECONOMY
• EMERGENCE AS A NEW ENERGY CORRIDOR

FOR HALF A CENTURY BLACKSEA WAS SHARED WITH SOVIET UNION AND WARSAW PACT MEMBERS WITH ONLY NATO COUNTRY TURKEY. HOWEVER, DESPITE BEING IN DIFFERENT POLITICAL CAMPS, TURKEY HAS ALWAYS PROMOTED PEACE AND STABILITY IN THE BLACKSEA, NOT ONLY WITH THE INTRODUCTION OF MONTREUX CONVENTION IN 1936 AS THE MOST IMPORTANT INSTRUMENT FOR MAINTENANCE OF STABILITY IN THE REGION ALSO WITH BILATERAL AND MULTILATERAL INITIATIVES WITH LITTORALS IN ORDER TO FIRST ESTBALISH DIALOGUE, THEN ENHANCE UNDERSTANDING AND COOPERATION. THIS, LED, MUTUAL CONFIDENCE AMONGST THE LITTORALS. CONCURRENTLY, FORMER WARSAW PACT MEMBERS AND NATO MEMBER TURKEY WITH DIVERSE POLITICAL AND STRATEGIC ASPIRATIONS WERE BROUGHT TO GATHER IN DIFFERENT REGIONAL FORA UNDER EQUAL FOOTING.

IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE DEMISE OF THE SOVIET UNION, BLACKSEA STATES HAVE DEMONSTRATED BOTH POLITICAL WILL AS WELL AS THE NECESSARY SKILLS TO JOIN EFFORTS AND DEVELOP VARIOUS METHODS OF COOPERATION WITH ONE ANOTHER BOTH BILATERALLY AND MULTILATERALLY. FOR EXAMPLE, TURKEY HAS SIGNED 36 DIFFERENT AGREEMENTS AND PROTOCOLS WITH BLACKSEA LITTORALS COVERING LARGE SPECTRUM OF COOPERATION IN MANY FIELDS IN THE LAST 15 YEARS.

REGIONAL COOPERATION IN SUPPORT OF SECURITY AND STABILITY IN THE BLACKSEA ARE REFLECTED WITH DIFFERENT INITIATIVES AND PROJECTS LIKE BSEC, BLACKSEAFOR, CSBM IN THE NAVAL FIELD, BLACKSEA BORDER COORDINATION AND INFORMATION CENTER, BLACKSEA INITIATIVE AND OPERATION BLACKSEA HARMONY.

OTHER THAN THOSE, NATO’S SOUTH EAST EUROPEAN INITIATIVE, STABILITY PACT FOR SOUTH EASTERN EUROPE, EU’S EUROPEAN NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICY, SOUTH EAST DEFENCE MINISTERIAL, SOUTH EAST EUROPE COOPERATION PROCESS, SECI CENTER,AND THE GUAM GROUP CAN BE MENTIONED UNDER OTHER INITIATIVES INVOLVING BLACKSEA SECURITY.

THE EFFECTS OF GLOBALIZATION AND DEMOCRATIZATION IN THE BLACKSEA ARE EVIDENT. BULGARIA AND ROMANIA HAVE JOINED NATO AND THEY ARE EXPECTED TO JOIN EU NEXT YEAR. DEMOCRATICLY ELECTED GOVERNMENTS IN UKRAINE AND GEORGIA ARE IN POWER. RUSSIAN FEDERATION AND UKRAINE ARE ATTACHED TO NATO UNDER NRC AND NUC FRAMEWORKS. GEORGIA’S AIM IS TO JOIN THE MEMBERSHIP ACTION PLAN (MAP) PROCESS AND EVENTUALLY BECOME A NATO MEMBER. THE COUNTRY HAS BEEN PART OF THE INDIVIDUAL PARTNERSHIP ACTION PLAN (IPAP) MECHANISM SINCE 2004 AND ALSO PARTICIPATES IN THE PFP PLANNING AND REVIEW PROCESS (PARP).

THE INTENSIFIED DIALOGUE WITH UKRAINE WAS LAUNCHED IN APRIL 2005, AND IS INTERPRETED BY THE UKRAINIAN SIDE AS A FIRST STEP TOWARDS MEMBERSHIP. UKRAINE EXPECTS THAT A POSITIVE MESSAGE TOWARDS MAP MEMBERSHIP WILL BE GIVEN AT THE DECEMBER 2005 FOREIGN MINISTERS MEETING AND THAT AN OFFICIAL DECISION ON THIS ISSUE WILL BE MADE DURING THE SPRING 2006 MINISTERIAL. AN EXCHANGE OF LETTERS ON UKRAINE’S PARTICIPATION IN OPERATION ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR WAS ALSO COMPLETED. SAME IS VALID FOR RUSSIAN FEDERATION.THIS COUNTRY WILL ALSO PARTICIPATE IN OAE IN THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA.

FURTHERMORE, ECONOMIC SIGNIFICANCE OF BLACKSEA KEEPS INCREASING AND ITS POTENTIAL EFFECTS, BOTH POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE, OVER GLOBAL ECONOMIC SECURITY ARE VERY HIGH.

MOST OF THE LITTORALS GDP GROWTH IN 2004 HAS BEEN REALIZED AS ABOVE 5 PERCENT. THERE IS A CONTINUAL INCREASE IN INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN THE REGION. BLACKSEA, AS LARGE AS ONE FIFTH OF THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA, SEES EVERYDAY THE MOVEMENT OF ROUGHLY 300 TO 400 MERCHANT SHIPS. THIS NUMBER CORRESPONDS TO ALMOST ONE TENTH OF THE MEDITERRANEAN SEA.

LAST YEAR BLACKSEA WATERS WAS PLIED BY 66 THOUSAND MERCHANT SHIPS OF 85 DIFFERENT NATIONS CARRYING MORE THAN HALF A BIILION TONS OF CARGO. IN THE LAST 5 YEARS, THE NUMBER OF CONTAINERS HANDLED IN BLACKSEA PORTS HAS TRIPLED.

THE INCREASE IN SHIPPING VOLUMES IS ALSO MANIFESTED WITH A STEADY INCREASE IN THE MARITIME TRAFFIC OVER THE TURKISH STRAITS. IN 2004, THE NUMBER OF SHIPS CROSSED TURKISH STRAITS WAS 150 SHIPS PER DAY, COMPARED T0 65 SHIPS IN 2001. THE AMOUNT OF BLACKSEA BORNE PETROLEUM PRODUCTS CARRIED OVER THE TURKISH STRAITS HAS REACHED TO 145 MILLION TON LEVEL IN 2004. WITH OTHER WORDS, 3 MILLION BARREL PETROLEUM PRODUCTS ARE CARRIED TO THE GLOBAL MARKETS WITH 25 TANKERS EACH DAY.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

AS YOU KNOW, GLOBAL TRADE WITH 30 PERCENT SHARE, CONSTITUTES ONE OF THE MAIN ELEMENTS OF WORLD ECONOMY. ALMOST 11 TRILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF GOODS ARE TRANSPORTED OVER THE WORLD SEAS, CONNECTING 4500 PORTS WORLDWIDE FOR GLOBAL TRADE. THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF GOODS CARRIED OVER THE SEAS IS ABOUT 6 BILLION TONS, AND WORLD MARITIME SHIPPING INCREASES 3 TO 4 PERCENT EACH YEAR. THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC SECURITY DEPENDS ON SUSTAINMENT OF SAFE AND MAINLY UNINTERRUPTED MARITIME SHIPPING. THEREFORE, THE SECURITY OF SHIPS, PORTS, CHOKE POINTS AND SEA LANES OF COMMUNICATIONS ARE THE MAIN ELEMENTS FOR MARITIME DOMAIN SECURITY. THIS IS VALID FOR THE BLACK SEA AS WELL.

ENSURING A SAFE AND SECURE MARITIME DOMAIN DOES NOT ONLY CONTRIBUTE TO THE WELL FUNCTIONING MARITIME SHIPPING, IT ALSO CONTRIBUTES TO THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO PREVENT TERROR, PROLIFERATION OF WMD AND OTHER ILLICIT ACTIVITIES OVER THE SEAS.

EMERGING NEW SECURITY ENVIRONMENT IN THE BLACKSEA MARITIME DOMAIN AFTER THE FALL OF BERLIN WALL HAS CREATED ITS OWN DYNAMICS WHICH ARE REFLECTED WITH THE FOLLOWING INITIATIVES:

• INCREASED COOPERATION AMONGST BLACKSEA COASTGUARDS
• THE BLACKSEAFOR INITIATIVE
• CSBM IN THE NAVAL FIELD

LATER ON, 9/11 HAS TRIGGERED NEW FORMULATIONS IN THE BLACKSEA MARITIME DOMAIN SECURITY. FIRSTLY BLACKSEAFOR COMMENCED A TRASFORMATION PROCESS IN ORDER TO BE TASKED WITH MARITIME SECURITY OPERATIONS SUCH AS SHADOWING SUSPECT VESSELS. SECONDLY, TURKEY LAUNCHED OPERATION BLACKSEA HARMONY.

BOTH AIMED TO FIGHT AGAINST TERROR AND PROLIFERATION OF WMD IN THE BLACK SEA.

SINCE ALL MARITIME AREAS OF THE BLACK SEA FALL INTO THE CATEGORIES OF TERRITORIAL WATERS AND EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE, LITERALLY THERE IS NO MARITIME AREA WHERE STATE JURISDICTION IS NOT EXERCISED. THAT FACILITATES THE CONTROL OF SHIPPING THROUGH ESTABLISHED EEZ PROTECTION PATROLS AND MARITIME SURVEILLANCE AREAS.

RECENT STATISTICS MAINLY DERIVED FROM BBCIC BLACKSEA BORDER COORDINATION AND INFORMATION CENTER, SHOW THAT MOST CASES INVOLVED IN ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES IN THE BLACK SEA ARE DIFFERENT SORTS OF SMUGGLING BUT NOT TERROR OR PROLIFERATION OF WMD, AND THEY WERE BASED ON ISOLATED CASES, NOT IN SYSTEMATIC PATTERNS.

THIS OVERALL PICTURE WAS ALSO REFLECTED IN THE BLACKSEAFOR DOCUMENT ON “MARITIME RISK ASSESSMENT IN THE BLACK SEA”. THIS DOCUMENT IS AN OFFICIALLY AGREED RISK ASSESSMENT OF BLACKSEAFOR, UNDERLYING THE FACT THAT THERE ARE NO THREATS, BUT A NUMBER OF RISKS IN THE BLACK SEA MARITIME DOMAIN.

ALTHOUGH WE FACE ISOLATED CASES OF ILLEGAL ACTION IN THE BLACK SEA, WE ALL KNOW THAT THE RISKS OF ASYMMETRIC THREATS AND ILLEGAL ACTIONS IN THE BLACK SEA HAVE A POTENTIAL TO INCREASE AND TO TRANSFORM THEMSELVES INTO THREATS AS LONG AS NO DETERRENT ACTION IS TAKEN. FROM THAT POINT, NOW I WOULD LIKE TO TOUCH UPON BLACKSEAFOR AND OPERATION BLACKSEA HARMONY.

THE UNDERLYING PHILOSOPHY OF BLACKSEAFOR INITIATIVE, WHEN WAS FIRST INTRODUCED BY TURKEY IN 1998, WAS THE REFLECTION OF A VISION OF GATHERING 6 LITTORAL NAVIES OF THE BLACK SEA, UNDER A COOPERATIVE FRAMEWORK TO ACCOMPLISH CERTAIN MARITIME TASKS FOLLOWING THE INAUGURAL ACTIVATION OF THE BLACKSEAFOR, ON 27 SEPTEMBER 2001, THE TASK GROUP CONDUCTED ITS PLANNED ACTIVITIES FOCUSING MAINLY ON SEARCH AND RESCUE UNDER THE COMMAND OF A TURKISH ADMIRAL. SINCE THEN, BLACKSEAFOR HAS ACTIVATED ANNUALLY. STARTING IN 2004 IT HAS BEEN ACTIVATED TWICE A YEAR.

THE FIFTH ACTIVATION OF THE BLACKSEAFOR, UNDER THE COMMAND OF ROMANIA, WAS CONDUCTED BETWEEN 8 AND 27 AUGUST 2005, FOCUSING ITS TRAINING ACTIVITIES ON ANTI-TERROR AS WELL AS MARITIME SECURITY OPERATIONS. DURING THIS SEA PERIOD, THE TASK GROUP HAD CONDUCTED COMBINED TRAINING WITH OPERATION BLACK SEA HARMONY STRESSING ON MARITIME SECURITY OPERATIONS, FOR THE FIRST TIME.

THE MOST NOTICEABLE ACHIEVEMENT OF THE BLACKSEAFOR DURING THE FIRST SEA PERIOD WAS THE ESTABLISHMENT OF PC TO PC SECURE COMMUNICATION NETWORK DEVELOPED BY TURKEY WITH SPECIAL CRYPTO AMONGST THE DIFFERENT WARSHIPS OF THE FORCES WHICH ENABLED THE ROMANIAN TASK GROUP COMMANDER EXERCISE HIS COMMAND AND CONTROL FUNCTIONS OVER WIDELY DISPERSED UNITS.

THE SECOND SEA PERIOD OF THE 5TH ACTIVATION WILL BE CONDUCTED BETWEEN 7-26 APRIL 2006.

A NEW PROCESS ENVISAGING THE UTILIZATION OF BLACKSEAFOR FOR MARITIME SECURITY TASKS CONTINUES. ALL OF THE BLACK SEA LITTORALS HAVE EXPRESSED THEIR WILL AND INTENTION FOR THESE EFFORTS AS A RESULT OF THE TWO HIGH LEVEL REPRESENTATIVES MEETINGS OF THE BLACKSEAFOR AT THE LEVEL OF DEPUTY FOREIGN MINISTERS OR UNDER SECRETARIATS IN 2004 AND 2005.

WHILE THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE BLACKSEAFOR CONTINUES, IN ORDER TO HAVE SMOOTH FLOW OF SHIPPING THROUGH THE TURKISH STRAITS AS WELL AS MAINTAINING NAVIGATIONAL ORDER ALONG THE VITAL SEA LINES OF COMMUNICATION IN THE BLACK SEA MARITIME DOMAIN, THE TURKISH NAVY LAUNCHED “OPERATION BLACKSEA HARMONY” ON FIRST OF MARCH 2004. THIS OPERATION HAS BEEN CARRIED OUT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTIONS.

THE MISSION OF “OPERATION BLACK SEA HARMONY” (OBSH) IS TO;

CONDUCT PERIODIC MARITIME SURVEILLANCE OPERATIONS IN THE MARITIME JURISDICTION AREAS AND THE AIRSPACE ABOVE THOSE AREAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW
 CONDUCT RECONNAISSANCE OPERATIONS FOR SUSPECT VESSELS/COI’S
 TRAIL/ SHADOW SUSPECT VESSELS/COI’S
 SHOW NAVAL PRESENCE IN THE TRAFFIC ROUTES OF MERCHANT SHIPPING. OBSH IS A NATO-OAE AFFILIATED OPERATIONS. OBSH-NATO COOPERATION CAN BE SUMMARIZED UNDER TWO HEADINGS.

THE FIRST ONE IS CONTACT OF INTEREST/SUSPECT SHIP SHADOWING/TRAILING. WE HAVE SHADOWED EVERY CONTACT OF INTEREST COMING FROM THE MEDITERRANEAN IN RELATION TO OAE.
THE SECOND ONE IS INFORMATION EXCHANGE, WHICH ALSO COVERS THE TRANSFER OF RECOGNIZED MARITIME PICTURE AS APPROPRIATE. WE HAVE BEEN SENDING NECESSARY MARITIME SECURITY INFORMATION THROUGH NATO C4I SYSTEMS WITH AMPLIFIED INFORMATION REGARDING MERCHANT SHIP TRAFFICKING, SUSPECTED VESSELS AND THEIR MOVEMENTS.

TURKEY HAS EXTENDED INVITATION TO ALL LITTORALS OF BLACK SEA TO JOIN OBSH, FIRST TIME AT THE JULY 2004 MEETING OF BSF SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVES IN MOSCOW.

IN MARCH 2005, UKRAINE BECAME THE FIRST COUNTRY TO ANNOUNCE FORMALLY ITS INTENTION TO PARTICIPATE IN OBSH. THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION HAS FOLLOWED SUIT.

TURKISH AND RF NAVY TECHNICAL TALKS HAVE STARTED IN JUNE 2005. EXCHANGE OF LETTER PROCESS WAS ADAPTED TO FINALIZE THE LEGAL PROCEDURES FOR RF PARTICIPATION IN OBSH.

OUR GOAL IS TO MAKE “OPERATION BLACK SEA HARMONY” (OBSH) A MULTINATIONAL OPERATION WHILE CONTINUING ITS NATO-OAE AFFILIATED STATUS AND TO TRANSFER ITS MISSIONS TO BLACKSEAFOR, WHEN IT IS READY TO TAKE OVER SUCH MISSIONS. THEREFORE, WE CONSIDER THIS OPERATION AS A MODEL TO BE ADOPTED BY BLACKSEAFOR IN DUE COURSE AS WELL.

OUR APPROACH FOR SECURITY IN THE BLACK SEA MARITIME DOMAIN BASED ON SIMPLICITY AND APPLICABILITY. WE THINK OBSH SATISFIES SECURITY NEEDS OF ALL NATO ALLIES AND PARTNERS ALIKE.

IN THIS REGARD, THE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF OPERATION BLACK SEA HARMONY AS AN INSTRUMENT FOR REGIONAL COOPERATION IN SUPPORT OF SECURITY AND STABILITY IN THE BLACK SEA, ALONG WITH OTHER REGIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND INITIATIVES, IN NATO FORUMS, IS VERY PROMISING. WE EXPECT NATO AS REFLECTED IN ISTANBUL SUMMIT COMMUNIQUE, TO CONTINUE TO ENCOURAGE COOPERATION ACHIEVED IN THE BLACK SEA, WHILE MAINTAINING ITS ATTRACTION AND OPENNESS FOR INCREASED INTERACTIONS WITH OBSH, BLACKSEAFOR AND THE REGIONAL CONSENSUS BEHIND THEM. WHAT TURKEY IS STRIVING NOW THROUGH OBSH AND BLACKSEAFOR AS AVAILABLE AND WORKING INSTRUMENTS IN THE BLACK SEA MARITIME SECURITY DOMAIN, IS TO CREATE AN INTERFACE WHERE THE INTERESTS OF NATO OVERLAPS WITH THOSE OF LITTORALS WITH A VIEW TO ANCHORING ALL OF THEM IN THE EURO-ATLANTIC SECURITY SYSTEM.
 
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