Turkey launches first of six new submarines

Turkey launched the first of six new submarines based on a German design, to update its current fleet of 12 submarines, Turkish media said.

The launch comes at a time when Turkey is at odds with Greece and Cyprus over territorial claims in the eastern Mediterranean. The Turkish government signed a deal with the internationally recognised government of Libya last month that sees the two as maritime neighbours. Greece and Cyprus say it ignores their own territorial waters and is meant to block the route for a gas pipeline to Europe.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched the Piri Reis submarine from a dry dock in the town of Gölcük on the Marmara Sea on Wednesday.

The Piri Reis will come into service in 2022 and is the first of six German-designed Type-214 submarines that Turkey plans to be operational by 2027. Turkey's submarine fleet currently consists of 12 vessels based on the German Type-209 design. Six of those will be replaced by the new Type-214 submarines, which feature silent cruising capabilities, and are armed with guided missiles and torpedoes.

Turkey also has plans to design and build its own submarines, but that could take another decade.