Proposal / Research

Joint Proposal Towards the Promotion of Global Maritime Security Through Cooperation Between the Republic of Turkey

1. Turkey and Japan to promote global maritime
safety and security and foster maritime

a. Paradigm of maritime security environment
The state of affairs for the maritime security has tremendously transformed since the demise of Soviet Union in 1990. Such a transformation was accelerated by globalization of economic activities. Ensuring the security of sea lines of communication has become a matter of concern and priority of not merely specific nations’ interests but of the whole global economy. The spillover of globalization over the seas was felt not only in the cargo volumes or the number of port calls but also in the increase of the level of risks and threats involving maritime domain such as terrorism, illegal trafficking of weapons, drugs, humans, etc. This necessitated the execution of maritime security operations as well as the establishment of maritime domain awareness projects where and when necessary. On the other hand, the liveliness of industrial activities in newly rising nations and progress in the ever-increasing demand in the populated countries are stimulating the rise of a new type of potential conflict among nations over the maritime rights and interests. Moreover, pollution of the marine environment entailed with development brings a task of sustainable sea management to human society, and therefore, environmental protection has been recognized as an important part of comprehensive security.
Entering the 21st century, in addition to the above-mentioned issues, further greater changes in the maritime security environment have emerged. They are caused by various challenges such as global terrorism, illegal activities, changes in the power balances, energy demand and supply, global warming, and other destabilizing factors. Hence, the paradigm of the maritime security environment formed in the post Cold War era has greatly transformed. Most recently, the response of international community concerning anti-piracy operations off the Somali coast demonstrates this tendency most clearly.
In order to shift that destabilized paradigm of the maritime security environment into a stable direction, security cooperation is indispensable for the maritime nations which should have good relations with those countries and groups having the same sense of values while different merits, and which are yet located at key geopolitical positions.
b. Paradigm of maritime safety environment
Accelerating globalization and the increasing reliance of national economies on globalization are creating a system of interdependence never experienced before in history. The effectiveness of this system relies almost exclusively on the ability of all people to use the global maritime commons freely on a day-to-day basis to exchange goods and services, by respecting international law including treaties and conventions.
Apart from the contemporary risks and threats to maritime security, the increasing activity in the maritime domain also brings forward the issue of maritime safety which can be identified as the combination of preventive and responsive measures intended to protect the maritime domain against accidental or natural danger, harm, damage to environment, risk or loss.
While 80% of the world’s population lives within 100 miles of the coast, over 90% of the world’s commerce is seaborne, 75% of that trade passes through a few, vulnerable, international straits and canals and the maritime environment includes trade routes, choke points, ports, and other infrastructure such as pipelines, oil and natural gas platforms and trans-oceanic telecommunications cables, the safety of these elements also affects and even determines the security dimensions of maritime environment.
As the recent oil spill incident in the Gulf of Mexico, which was marked as the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of petroleum industry, indicated once more, no state is immune from the spillover effects of a maritime incident. In this context, bilateral and multilateral dialogue and cooperation are most required to ensure maritime safety, which bears importance as high as maritime security.
In light of these, Turkey and Japan, as two nations highly dependent on maritime transport and resources for their well-being, and located at the strategic geographic positions with a maritime perspective, could well cooperate with each other to enhance maritime safety both in regional and global scales.
c. Turkey and Japan
Turkey and Japan are geographically located respectively at the west and east ends of the Asian continent. Turkey and Japan are major powers having developed with introduction of Western civilization: in particular, even in the era of Pax Britannica, when Asian and African states suffered a bitter experience of colonization and struggles, Turkey and Japan tried a modernization by adopting the Western culture from an early period. Both countries were not colonized but remained major powers at the west and east ends of the Asian continent. Turkey was one of the defeated countries in World War I, and so was Japan in the World War II.
Turkey and Japan are now respective leading players in the East and West: Japan in the Japan-U.S. alliance positioned in the East, and Turkey, a member of NATO in the western hemisphere. Both countries are possible through their close relationships to enjoy benefits of information sharing, cooperation in the aspect of foreign relations, and maritime peace activities for the objects that each should have relationship: for Japan: NATO, Russia, the Central Asia, and for Turkey: Japan-U.S. Alliance, China and ASEAN.
The Republic of Turkey is endowed with a strategic importance stemming from its position having coastlines in the Black Sea, the Aegean and the Mediterranean, and it has geographical proximity with the Indian Ocean through the points of strategic importance for world shipping, the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, the Gulf region and the Gulf of Aden. Surrounded by different civilizations, security systems, geostrategic competitors, Turkey holds a geography stretching in East-West direction over the three major continents where the world history has begun.
Turkey has a strong democratic system and is a member of NATO since 1952. Following the guidance of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, “Peace at Home, Peace in the World,” Turkey has built defensive military capabilities as deterrent effect against aggression. The sea lines of communication are the main artery for Turkish economic activities.
Turkey demonstrates strong leadership for the safety and security of sea transportation including through the Istanbul Strait and the Çanakkale Strait. Most prominently, on the eve of the 21st Century, Turkey played a leading role for establishment of BLACKSEAFOR (Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Group) amongst the six Black Sea littoral navies in order to enhance dialogue, cooperation, interoperability, and thus to improve regional peace and stability in the Black Sea. Furthermore, Turkey has also pioneered the Operation Black Sea Harmony as one of the leading maritime security operations in a regional scale and enabled the participation of Russian Federation, Ukraine and Romania into this Operation. On the one hand, BLACKSEAFOR, providing a tremendous instrument for confidence and security building in a practically closed sea, which has become an energy life-line in recent decades, on the other hand, Black Sea Harmony, providing maritime security in the region are exporting maritime stability into the global order, thus contributing to the idea of global maritime security through regionally provided maritime securities. In 2006, Turkey has also initiated the Operation Mediterranean Shield following the inauguration of Baku-Tiblisi-Ceyhan pipeline project terminating in Turkey’s Eastern Mediterranean port of Ceyhan as the first national energy security operation, albeit affiliated with NATO through information exchange like Operation Black Sea Harmony.
In accordance with UNSC resolutions, similar to Japan, Turkey is also fighting against piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the Somali Coast and actively participates in NATO operations, SNMG-2 and CTF-151, based on the availability of Navy assets.
Japan in East Asia, positioned in the geostrategic importance facing the continent and seas, historically, has always had big leverage over the conflicts and struggles between the Asia and the Pacific nations. After the World War II, Japan concluded a security treaty with the United States, and has built defense capabilities on the basis of an exclusively defensive nature under the constitution, and is exerting effort to maintain favorable international relations with other East Asian countries. The Japan-U.S. security system, marking fifty years this year since its inception, contributed to deterring armed conflicts throughout the Cold War era, and so far has rendered a great contribution not only to stabilization of the East Asian security environment but also to regional economic development.
Fronting the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Okhotsk, the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea, Japan, as a sea-dependent country, has nurtured a superb sea power. Sea lines of communication are the lifeline of Japan. Therefore, ensured security is the most important proposition for national defense. In particular, the sea lines of communication as the sea route of resources from the Middle East region to East Asia via the Indian Ocean underpins Japan’s economy and existence. Being based on the Japan-U.S. alliance, together with building good relations with the Middle Eastern nations, Japan is actively participating in response for the safety of the Malacca-Singapore Straits.
Moreover, there are problems of resources and environment in the waters of East Asia. Japan, as is Turkey, is demonstrating how to grapple maritime governance enthusiastically in multi-national form in the region.
Turkey and Japan both have histories of development closely with the seas. Although the two countries have different threat perceptions, both have considerably similar security environments: Sea lines of communication as the national lifeline; various unstable factors emerging over the sea lines of communication; promotion of diplomacy on a foundation of collaboration with European countries and the United States. In addition, both countries have the same fundamental principle for national defense, and also make an effort vigorously to ensure effective maritime governance.
Turkey and Japan have maintained a close relationship for a long time, helping each other and sharing same values, as evidenced by including Japan’s rescue works at the time of distress of the Ottoman navy ship, Ertuğrul Firkateyni in 1890; an airplane dispatch by Turkey to rescue Japanese nationals for evacuation at the time of Iran-Iraq War in 1985; and emergency support for the 1999 earthquake victims in Marmara by Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.
However, to date neither Turkey nor Japan has jointly acted in concrete terms for the sake of contributing to global maritime security through regionally provided maritime securities. Positioned in the east and west ends of the Asian Continent, the two countries, through the mutual cooperation in the area of comprehensive maritime security as the main theme, are to explore opportunities to work together, through which maritime governance, safety and security of sea lines of communication, global and regional security schemes, development of maritime industries and ocean governance will definitely be facilitated, supported, and ensured directly and indirectly in both countries.

2. Proposal – Turkey and Japan, mutually collaborating sea powers

The following proposals for the governments of Japan and the Republic of Turkey could facilitate collaboration between the two countries on the areas of maritime safety and security.
a. Further dialogues
a-1. Navy to Navy Staff Talks
Navy to Navy Staff Talks over the maritime defense and security between the Turkish Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force is a welcome development.
a-2. Coast Guard to Coast Guard Staff Talks
Coast Guard to Coast Guard Staff Talks over the maritime security and safety between the Turkish Coast Guard and Japanese Coast Guard, including relevant organizations from both countries will constitute a supporting development for bilateral maritime cooperation.
a-3. Track II study meetings by the academic organizations on maritime policies
Academic organizations including universities and colleges and research institutions of both countries should map out programs of Track II study meetings by their academics and researchers on maritime security cooperation such as organization of conferences and exchange programs. There are many cases that governmental level policies have been triggered by Track II level recommendations.
b. Enhancement of information exchange scheme Maritime situational awareness information exchange
Both countries should establish a posture of enabling information sharing from either the east or west end of the Asian continent in maritime domain as appropriate, in line with national regulations and procedures.
c. Cooperation in the areas of diplomacy, defense, and public security
c-1. Participation in regional exercises and training
The two countries should have the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Turkish Navy, and also, the Japan Coast Guard and the Turkish Coast Guard (Sahil Guvenlik), execute joint exercises and trainings regularly subject to a relevant agreement between Turkey and Japan.
c-2. Exchange of lessons learned and best practices on PSO/MSO
The two countries should exchange views on the outcomes and tasks of peace activities on the seas. Both Turkey and Japan, in accordance with the UNSC resolutions, are striving for piracy crackdown off the coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden.
c-3. Turkey and Japan – Cooperation facilitators among regional/international organizations
Both countries should contribute to making the sea lines of communication to and from the East Asia linking the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean connected to the Atlantic Ocean a “Arc of Maritime Safety.” To that end the two countries ought to consider developing a bilateral cooperation scheme to a multinational one. Japan should establish a relationship with NATO while Turkey fully supports this vision. Turkey should consider participation in multi-national exercises such as the MALABAR conducted in the sphere of the Indian Ocean and the East Asian sea.
c-4. Cooperation in maritime safety
Japan should study legal restrictions, and work to take necessary measures on how far the cooperation of actual working aspect between both navies as well as both Coast Guards will be possible, and on what matters should be made possible.
d. Cooperation for sustainable maritime development
d-1. Cooperation in the area of maritime technology
The two countries should promote technological cooperation that could be contributable to protection of the maritime natural environment and to counteraction for maritime pollution caused by ships. It is possible for Japan to provide technological support to Turkey in areas such as prevention of oil spill, protection of marine environment and ballast water management.
d-2. Promotion of maritime governance
The two countries should cooperate each other in the area of establishment of management system of the seas. Turkey, having excellent knowledge and skill in both aspects of soft and hard ability evidenced by the measures for maritime natural environmental protection and navigation safety measures, is able to provide to Japan the knowhow of a joint management system of the seas. Japan could provide to Turkey the knowledge and lessons obtained through various measures based on the Basic Act on Ocean Policy.
e. Cooperation for developing maritime industry
e-1. Promotion of shipping
Both countries should promote economic cooperation pertaining to shipping. There are more than 90 Japanese enterprises accomplishing expansion into Turkey for business including the trade of agricultural products. Despite the sea lines of communication being the lifeline for both Turkey and Japan, however, their involvement in the maritime transportation business does not seem to be spirited. In recent years, the sales figures of Turkish ports are growing greatly. In addition, Turkey proudly has the best small-size ship building scale in the world. For the two countries having vital national interests with the sea lines of communication, development of mutual cooperation in the field of shipping has a great significance. For Japan it can be said to be a big business chance.
e-2. Supporting maritime infrastructure
The demand for shipping of Turkey is expanding, but the improvement of infrastructure has not come matched pace with this trend. The construction of a hub port, such as in Gulf of Izmir or elsewhere, in this process is important. Turkey and Japan should cooperate in this vein.

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