Even though Turkey's Black Sea policy was reviewed after the Ukraine-Crimea-Syria sequence of crises, the “reorganization” process was not started.
The Turkish Naval Forces took note of Russia's statements to equip/expand its Black Sea fleet and rolled up its sleeves to do what was necessary, but Ankara did not start the new political construction process. It chose patience.
Black Sea issue is a little covert
There are three agreements that can help us understand how Turkey sees the North Sea in terms of strategy. First, BLACKSEAFOR, second, Operation Black Sea Harmony and third, the Black Sea Cooperation Forum (BCSF).
Russia is also included in these three regional mechanisms and provides support.
You cannot get the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to admit it, but Russia and Turkey “do not want anyone else” in the Black Sea.
That “anyone else” is the US.
Since it is not possible for the US to stand alone in the Black Sea, until now, it tried to get into the region through NATO.
To achieve this, it created excuses such as “terrorism and drug smuggling” in the Black Sea. Almost all were ignored by Turkey and Russia.
This was the right thing to do. It would be strange to think that two powerful countries like Russia and Turkey are incapable of controlling a closed sea.
Meanwhile, an exceptional situation appeared in the Russia-Georgia war. The US had to be present in the region and Turkey carried out this fragile diplomacy by leaning its back on the Montreux Convention, which is the document/power/agreement fundamental to protecting the Black Sea from international attacks.
Back then, while Turkey and Russia were discussing solutions on warships in the Black Sea, US warships were turning the propeller to stay in the region a little longer.
“We need to do our part in relation to security cooperation between countries that have a coast on the Black Sea. We need to take the steps that need to be taken in the air, ground and sea, together as NATO members. If we don't, history will not forgive us. I told the NATO secretary-general, 'Your lack of presence in the Black Sea is literally turning it into a Russian lake. We need to make the Black Sea a pool of stability once again.” (“Black Sea should not turn into a Russian lake,” 12/05, Star.)
This statement made by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the 10th Balkan Countries Chiefs of Defense Conference in Istanbul, has two sides to it.
This is the state of Balkan countries and Turkey and we can add to it the strong development in Romania: “The US has activated the AEGIS missile defense station in Romania, despite Russia's objection.” (May 12, BBC.) It goes without saying that this made the Russians go mad. (“US activates Romanian missile defense site, angering Russia,” 12/05, Reuters.)
As a matter of fact, this is going to be done with a ceremony and NATO is going to have the highest representation like secretary-general. Although it is said the system is against rogue states, against Iran, it is against the ice cold Russia and it makes up the most western part of NATO's siege area under “Turkish command.”
Without a doubt, following the Balkan countries and the Black Sea is Georgia and “more.” “Georgia, the US and UK started a joint military drill near the Georgian capital, Tbilisi. In the speech he made at the drill named 'Noble Partner 2016,' Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili said, “I am proud of such a drill being organized in my country. I hope Georgia will become a NATO member in the future.'” (Milliyet, 12/05.) These messages should put a bug in ears in Moscow and Yerevan regarding disputes between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Renewed NATO border
A new commander-in-chief, Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, was appointed to NATO European Ally Forces on May 4.
Gen. Scaparotti says, “In the event Russia's aggressive policy continues, the alliance needs to be ready for war with Russia. I am going to determine a boundary and in the event Russia oversteps this boundary, NATO will take action. I am also going to propose that new US troops are brought to Europe. Then they will understand how serious the matter is.” (“Büyük Savaşa Hazırlık” (Preparing for the great war), 12/05, Yeni Şafak.)
Syria, natural position of the front
This rise does not seem like one of the usual tensions in the East-West axis.
It would not be a surprise for such a flow to spread all the way to Syria. In fact it would be strange if it didn't. We can add to the flow, the statement “something needs to be done,” in relation to Syria's north, heard primarily in Ankara as well as Western countries.
Can we consider Ankara's recently sending a limited number of special forces to Syria as its preliminary preparations? Also, it shown friend and foe that there is no psychological border: “I will go in whenever I please, take what I want and leave whenever I please.”
The post-operation speculations that “They notified Russia,” is also against nature. It would be said, “He didn't do anything despite knowing about it.”
In the same meeting, Erdoğan said, “We are determined to take the steps necessary to prevent the other side of our borders from turning into an asylum for terror organizations to ensure the safety of our citizens.”
So then we can end in US Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken's statement: “We agreed to work together with Ankara to clear the Munbij-Mare line from Daesh.”