The Black Sea Naval Force (BLACKSEAFOR), was created in early 2001 under the leadership of Turkey, with the participation of all other Black Sea littoral states, namely Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and Georgia. The BLACKSEAFOR founding agreement was signed in Istanbul on 2 April 2001.
The original purpose of BLACKSEAFOR was to cooperatively promote security and stability in the Black Sea maritime area and beyond, strengthen friendship and good neighborly relations among the regional States, and increase interoperability among those states' naval forces. Soft security efforts and military activities, in addition to political dialogue, are being pursued in this framework. Search and rescue operations, environmental protection, and mine-clearing were among the initial activities of BLACKSEAFOR. After the terrorist attacks in the USA on September the 11th, 2001, BLACKSEAFOR's scope of activity was expanded in order to include the fight against terrorism. Littoral countries are still working on BLACKSEAFOR's transformation process, in order to better adapt the force to the new security environment.
BLACKSEAFOR is an on-call force and currently has no permanent headquarters. It is activated twice yearly and the command structure is based on the principle of rotation. Each littoral assumes leadership for a one-year period. According to the BLACKSEAFOR Agreement, two scheduled activations take place each year. Unscheduled activations can also take place if participation of 4 ships is achieved. Decisions are taken by consensus.
BLACKSEAFOR plays a role in preserving security in the Black Sea maritime area. A risk assessment conducted in 2005 by BLACKSEAFOR States stated that although the Black Sea is not fully immune from asymmetric risks, there are no alarming threats in the area with which the littoral states could not cope.
- Operation Black Sea Harmony
- 1936 Montreux Convention governing the passage of military ships into the Black Sea
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