The military strength of Turkey was in her army and not in her navy. Three times she had built up a powerful navy, but each time it has been destroyed by the combined fleets of European nations - at Lepanto in 1571 by the united navies of Spain, Malta, Genoa, Venice, and Pius V.; at the passage of Scio in 1770 by Russia and England, and at Navarino in 1827 by England, Russia, and France.
For the navy of Turkey the crews were raised in the same manner as the land forces, partly by conscription, and partly by voluntary enlistment. The time of service in the navy is twelve years, i.e., three in the active service and nine in the reserve.
Three successive British Naval Missions were entrusted with the reorganisation of the Navy in 1908 and the following years. The last was recalled by the British Government in September, 1914, owing to the anomalous situation arising out of the transfer from Germany of the battle-cruiser Ooeben (renamed Sultan Yavaz Selim) and the light cruiser Breslau (renamed Medellieh) to the Turkish Government and the practical supersession of the British Mission under Rear-Admiral (later Vice-Admiral) Sir A. Limpus, K.C.B., by German officers. Between 1908 and 1914 the number of officers in the navy was largely reduced in order to make it more in proportion with the actual needs of the ships. Some progress was made in the training of officers and men. A fairly considerable naval program was elaborated. A comprehensive scheme for the creation of docks and arsenals at Constantinople and Ismid by means of a concession to a British combine, the main elements in which were the firms of Armstrong and Vickers Maxim, was adopted early in 1914. All these schemes had been brought to a standstill by the outbreak of war between Great Britain and Turkey. The realisation of the naval programme received a severe blow before that event owing to the embargo laid by the British Government on the Dreadnoughts Sultan Osman and Reschadie (late Rio de Janeiro) in British yards at the beginning of August, 1914.
The ships of the Ottoman Navy in May, 1916, included 2 torpedo gunboats, the Berlc-i-Salvei and the Peiki-Shcvhet (1906) ; 7 gunboats (1918-16); 9 destroyers (1908-1910); 7 torpedo boats (1901-6) ; 5 composite armed vessels (1914) designed for preventive work ; and a number of armed motor boats. There were also available for naval purposes the Sultan's yacht Ertogrul (1905); 4 minelayers ; 2 fleet-tenders (one of them a German refugee) ; 2 hospital ships (one of them a Gorman refugee); 2 colliers (German refugees); 1 Ammunition Transport (German refugee) ; and fifteen troop-transports, besides a considerable number of ordinary merchant vessels, German and other, held iu readiness to serve in the same capacity. Of these several have been sunk. Except for a successful attack by a destroyer on the Goliath, the Turkish navy took an inconsiderable part in the Dardanelles operations. In the Black Sea, so long as the Goebcn (Sultan Yavaz Selim) was capable of action, Turkey had the ascendency. But for a long time now she has been powerless to protect her coal supply from Anatolia, or to attack except by submarines.
The naval clauses provided for the surrender of all Turkish warships with the exception of a few small lightly armed vessels which may be retained for police and fishery duties. Turkey was forbidden to construct or acquire any surface warships other than those required to replace the units allowed for police and fishery duties, and Is also forbidden to construct or acquire any submarine, even for commercial purposes. Vessels which have been in use as transports and fleet auxiliaries and which can be converted to commercial use are to be disarmed and treated as other merchant vessels. Warships under construction, including submarines, were to be broken up, except such surface warships as can be completed for commercial purposes, and the material arising from the breaking up is only to be used for purely industrial purposes. All naval war material and munitions, except such as were allowed for the use of the police and fishery vessels, are to be surrendered, and their manufacture in Turkish territory was forbidden. A certain number of the officers and men from the late Turkish Navy may be retained for providing the personnel of the police, fishery and signal services ; the remainder was to be demobilized, and no other naval forces were to be organized in Turkey.
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