Operation Black Sea Harmony
Operation Black Sea Harmony was launched in 2004 by the Turkish government. Its aim was is to deter terrorism, and eliminate threats to the Black Sea. Black Sea Harmony cooperates with the NATO-led Operation Active Endeavour in the Mediterranean. The initiative covers roughly 40 percent, or the southern portion, of the Black Sea. During its 16 months of operating its has stopped nearly 12,000 vessels for inspection and conducted 195 security-related visits to ports.
Critics claimed that the reason behind Turkey creation Black Sea Harmony in 2004 was an attempt to combat United States interest in expanding NATO's operation to the Black Sea. In 2006 Turkey invited Russia and Ukraine to join the mission. Both countries are in the process of joining the mission. Ukraine's Deputy Foreign Minister Volodymyr Khandogiy told the press that, "Black Sea Harmony is a very timely and interesting initiative, and Ukraine is currently in the process of finalizing its decision on the legal modalities to become a partner." Russia, who also is strongly against NATO expansion of operations to the Black Sea is joining the operation. Turkey hopes to turn its mission into a multilateral effort, and place it under a current operation, BlackSeaFor, when the operation because fully operable.