Photo: Defense Romania
Turkish Navy Commander Ercüment Tatlıoğlu detonated a heavy bomb while speaking at a ceremony held in Yalova to mark the 133rd anniversary of the establishment of the Naval Officer Schools. The admiral stressed that Turkey guarantees all security in the Black Sea and that it should not be turned into the Middle East.
He said: "We don't want any other country or NATO to enter [the Black Sea]."
He emphasized the economic importance of the Black Sea after the discovery of natural gas fields.
The country that the Turkish admiral did not name in his speech is America. Ankara believes that the American presence in the Black Sea could turn the region into an arena of armed conflicts between international and regional powers, similar to the conflicts occurring in the Middle East, so that a Russian-Ukrainian war would extend beyond its borders and threaten the security of all countries bordering it. Black Sea.
Peace and stability in the Black Sea are also necessary for Turkey to continue oil and gas exploration, as well as to extract natural gas from new fields.
Turkey's opposition to the American presence in the Black Sea is understandable, but the mention of NATO in the speech of the commander of the Turkish Navy caused some reactions of surprise.
Former Turkish Ambassador to Washington and Republican People's Party spokesman Namik Tan criticized Admiral Tatlıoğlu's statements, saying on social media: “An admiral, commander of the Navy, who does not know that Turkey is a member of NATO?! This is a loss..."
The commander of the Turkish Navy is well aware that Turkey is a member of NATO, but his statements indicate a rethinking of the relationship between Ankara and the alliance and emphasize that Turkey's membership in the North Atlantic Alliance does not mean subordination, but rather participation in decision-making to protect its security and interests.
Turkey joined NATO in 1952 after sending a brigade to the Korean Peninsula in the fall of 1950 to fight alongside American forces in the Korean War. Turkish soldiers fought on the front lines and hundreds of them were killed. Since then, Western countries have viewed Turkey as a “reservoir of soldiers” and a “ready military force” that can be used to implement NATO plans. American billionaire George Soros once said that the best product Turkey could export was its army, but Ankara no longer tolerates such superiority.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited the German capital Berlin a few days ago. At a press conference he held with the German chancellor, Erdogan said: “Turkey is one of the most important countries in NATO, and not an ordinary country in the alliance. There is now a “new” Turkey that is aware of its importance in the region and its position in NATO and rejects blind submission. Ankara demands that its opinions be respected and its concerns and interests taken into account.”
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