Assignment: Turkey is building an Aircraft Carrier
Turkey wants to have more influence in the region and for this wants to expand its military reach and is in the process of building an aircraft carrier. This will obviously up to the ante in this volatile region’s arms race. The aircraft carrier will be 225 meters in length and will be commissioned to enter service in 2021. It will be named “Anatolia” and will be accommodated fighter aircraft, attack helicopters, tanks, troops and landing vessels. It will sail in the areas around the Mediterranean Sea and will also have trans-continental capabilities. Most people regard that the aircraft carrier will mostly be viewed as an expensive expression of prestige and grandeur that exceed the country’s defense requirements.
Turkey is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and is determined to become a leading power in the Middle East. Turkey’s military ambitions are ruffling quite a few feathers in a region that has problems in Iraq and a war in Syria. The announcement follows in the wake of heightened tensions with Russia over Turkey shooting down a Russian plane which was on a bombing mission against Syrian rebels. Turkey is already at loggerheads with its neighbors including Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Egypt. This is beside the conflict about Cyprus and some unsettled territorial issues in the Aegean and with NATO partner Greece.
The acquisition of the aircraft carrier is regarded as the determination of the government in Ankara to make the country an oceanic power to match the capabilities of its military which has more than 600,000 soldiers and this army is the second largest in NATO after the U.S. As the flagship of the Turkish navy it will carry around 1,400 crew and troops which could send on shore for engaging with enemy troops. The aircraft carrier will have its own small fleet of F-35 fighter jets and helicopters, a hospital with at least 30 beds, and room for landing boats and other smaller crafts as well as for 13 battle tanks and other weapons.
The contract to build the 28,000-ton ship was signed last year with a Spanish company being a technological partner for building the ship. Planning for this aircraft carrier started way back in 2006 but it took some time for the plans to take on concrete form. The ship will cost around $1 billion and will be a state of the art vessel. According to experts, large amphibious ships are the only real multi-purpose ships that any navy can have and are the best for defense and offense.