NATO, which exists as a political-military alliance, is the epitome of the commitment to and upholding universal values such as democracy, human rights and the rule of law; beyond being one of the factors that affect the Turkey’s security and defence policies. NATO has been a central role in ensuring the security of our country since 18 February 1952, when Turkey attended the alliance. Turkey has fulfilled the responsibilities upon defencing the common values shared within the Alliance during the process. It was a necessity for Turkey to host an international military organisation such as “Maritime Security Centre of Excellence” rather than a choice.
-Ahmet ALEMDAR, Defence Turk Coordinator
NATO Centre of Excellence (COE)
A NATO-accredited Centre of Excellence (COE) is a multinational or nationally established, “sponsored” organization that offers expertise and experience in a defined area for the benefit of the Alliance within the pillars of NATO’s COE Program. A COE is not part of the NATO Command Structure (NCS) or other NATO units, but forms a part of the broader framework that contributes to the functioning of the Alliance.
The first step towards NATO accredited centers of excellence was taken with the MC 324/1, “NATO Military Command Structure” dated 14 May 2003. In the second step, the Military Committee (MC) continued this idea in the MCM-236-03 dated December 4, 2003 as the “Centers of Excellence Military Committee Concept (COE)”. Accreditation criteria were defined after the idea and concept were formed in a solid manner. In 2004, IMSM-0416-04, “NATO COE Accreditation Criteria” was adopted and the first NATO COE was officially accredited on 01 June 2005. MCM-236-03 criteria were replaced with MC 0685 (Military Committee Policy for Centers of Excellence) on December 4, 2019. MC 0685 constitutes the NATO COE accreditation criteria policy today.
In addition to make significant contributions the the Alliance, NATO Centers of Excellence (COE);
- They do not create additional costs for NATO,
- They comply with NATO procedures, doctrines and standards,
- They do not require an increase in existing assets,
- They support and encourage relationships with partners.
NATO Maritime Security Centre of Excellence (NATO MARSEC COE)
The NATO Maritime Security Center of Excellence (NATO MARSEC COE) has a mission to expand the capabilities of NATO and allied countries by providing comprehensive, innovative and timely expertise in the field of Maritime Security Operations (MSO).
NATO MARSEC COE was founded on October 2019 with the “Operational and Functional Memorandum of Understanding” signed between Turkey, Greece and Romania, as a multinational, mutual and a military organisation. The centre, which aims to be both a regional and a global place that addresses the challenges and training requirements related to maritime security, was accredited by NATO in June 2020 and became the 26th Centre of Excellence in this sense. Among the main focus areas for NATO MARSEC COE’s cooperation; Critical Infrastructure Protection (CI), Maritime Counter Terrorism (MCT), Prevention of the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Maritime Security Capacity Building (MSCB), Maritime Situational Awareness (MSA), Freedom of Navigation (FoN), Maritime Interdiction Operation (MIO). In addition to the crisis management of global maritime security issues such as piracy, drug trafficking and illegal fishing; the protection of underwater cable structures, cyber threats, maritime security operations in the pandemic environment, terrorist threats are also among the areas of focus.