ISTANBUL --- There was never a dull moment for Ankara in its military affairs agenda in the year 2019. After all, Operation Peace Spring marked the first time that the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) operated against the PKK terrorist offshoots in the east of the Euphrates in the northern plains of Syria. The S-400 procurement was, by far, the most sensational news in global weapons market. Turkey even combat-launched its indigenous ballistic missile, the Bora, during Operation Claw in northern Iraq.
However, none of these developments offer the insightful hints about the Turkish administration’s defense vision for the 2020s as the latest Defense Strategic Plan 2019 – 2023.
Turkey’s main procurement body, the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB – Savunma Sanayii Baskanligi) released the document in late 2019. The plan envisages the nation’s military roadmap until 2023, the centennial of the republic.
With many in-depth assessments available, the 2019 – 2023 plan deserves attention in one particular area. The document prioritizes managing technological transformation and building the required elite workforce to enable it. In other words, for the first time, an official release by Ankara primarily focuses on the broader defense eco-system with all the stakeholders involved, rather than on the defense sector itself with a purely industrial mindset.
In league with the new strategic plan, Turkey’s military and defense-technological uptrend hints at more aspirant capability development efforts in the 2020s. To grasp the new reality, one should glance at the bricks of this eco-system. (end of excerpt)
* The writer is the director of the Security and Defense Research Program at the Istanbul-based think-tank EDAM. Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Anadolu Agency.
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