Search our content

Home  /  Media Centre  /  News  /  2023  /  Officer serving with NATO becomes first female Admiral in the Turkish Navy

Aug 17 2023

Officer serving with NATO becomes first female Admiral in the Turkish Navy

NORTHWOOD, UK – The Supreme Military Council of Türkiye has selected a female navy officer for promotion to Rear Admiral. Captain Gökçen Fırat is the first woman in the history of the Turkish Navy to hold the rank.

“Being promoted to the admiralship is one of the highest level of achievements for any navy officer to reach in their career,” said Fırat on news of her promotion. “I am very glad to reach this objective.”

Fırat is currently serving with NATO Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) in the UK, where she is the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations. Her position is critical to the success of maritime operations and exercises across the Alliance, including the participation of four NATO standing naval forces in major multinational taskings.


Born in Istanbul in 1977, Fırat began her naval career in 1998, first serving as an Underwater Weapons Officer and Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer on the Turkish frigate TCG Yavuz. She was then posted to a Training Boat E-2 where she became the first female commanding officer in the Turkish Navy.

She later served in the Turkish Combat Fleet HQ, Turkish Naval Forces HQ, Turkish General Staff HQ and Ministry of Defence HQ, before graduating from Naval Staff College in 2018 and Joint Staff and Command College in 2019.

Fırat served in NATO’s Joint Warfare Centre in Norway, before moving to MARCOM in 2022.

“Each task and post has been a good opportunity to increase my experience and develop my vision for the future. Being assigned as the first female Commanding Officer of a ship in the Turkish Navy also encouraged me and sharpened my vision to reach my goals,” said Captain Fırat.

The Turkish Armed Forces have a long history of recruiting women.  In 1955, the first female cadets were accepted into all three academies of the Army, Navy and Air Force.  In 1959, the first female cadets from the Naval Academy graduated.  Today, women have taken their place in the military where they have been fulfilling important duties and roles for many years.

“I believe that the number of female admirals and generals will increase to serve our nation and forces with distinguished honor, and the highest levels of devotion and loyalty,” said Fırat.

MARCOM is empowered to lead robust maritime operations theatre-wide. It is always NATO's Maritime Theatre Component Commander and when called upon serves as a Maritime Component Commander for specific operations. MARCOM is the central hub for NATO maritime operations, playing a key role in the Alliance's deterrent posture at sea, commanding NATO's maritime presence, coordinating Allied maritime assets and expanding the agility and usability of the Standing Naval Forces.

Story by Public Affairs Office at MARCOM

Search our content:


HQ Allied Maritime Command
MARCOM Records Centre
Information Management Branch
Northwood HQ, Atlantic Building
Sandy Lane, Northwood HA6 3HP
United Kingdom

Media Operations

Public Affairs Office
Atlantic Building, Northwood HQ