With an aim to establish itself as a naval power, Turkey has embarked on the design phase for its second aircraft carrier, reinforcing its strategic interests in the Aegean Sea, Black Sea, and Eastern Mediterranean. This move is part of Turkey's “Blue Homeland” concept, orchestrated by Admiral Cem Gürdeniz since 2000.
In April 2023, the Turkish military navy witnessed the activation of its current “flagship,” the TCG Anadolu. This 27,000-tonne amphibious assault ship, stretching 231 metres in length and 32 metres in width, is built following the design of Navantia's Juan Carlos I, a Spanish Naval Constructor. The vessel holds the capability to deploy an array of combat vehicles including drones, helicopters, light attack aircraft, and an equivalent of a battalion with four landing craft.
Plans for TCG Trakya
President Erdogan has unveiled plans to construct a second, larger aircraft carrier, the TCG Trakya. The announcement came in October during the centenary of the Republic of Turkey. Notably, the Turkish Defence Industry Executive Committee officially commenced construction of this second carrier on January 3rd. A possibility of cooperation with Spain for the second carrier was notably absent from discussions.
Expansion of Naval Fleet
The committee also confirmed the impending construction of an additional four “Istanbul” type frigates. The first of these, the TCG Istanbul, is soon to be activated. Three more frigates, namely the TCG Izmir, TCG İçel and TCG İzmit, are expected to join the Turkish navy by 2027. In addition, orders are in place for further offshore patrol vessels of the Hisar type.
The Istanbul-class frigates and Hisar type patrol ships form part of Turkey's ambitious “Milgem” project. The project also envisions the construction of eight 8500-tonne TF-2000 “destroyers”. However, a final decision regarding their construction awaits.