Turkey Defense and Security

By | December 18, 2021

The army has historically played a very prominent role in Turkish public life. The democratization process therefore also passes through less interference by the army in politics. This interference is the result, on the one hand, of the peculiar role of guardian of the national institutional structure and, on the other, of the historical contingencies that accompanied the birth and evolution of the Turkish Republic. Since the formation of the state and as a direct consequence of the Ottoman system of capitulations (according to which the European powers were recognized the right to protect religious minorities residing in the Empire), Turkey has interpreted internal threats to national integrity as a direct emanation of threats from abroad: the so-called ‘ Sèvres syndrome ‘. This has resulted in the indivisibility of the security policy in its internal and external dimensions. On the other hand, the protection of territorial integrity with respect to claims from Greece, Armenia and Syria, as well as the constant Soviet military threat in the Cold War era, have helped to maintain the political role of the Turkish general staff throughout. the twentieth century. The overlap between internal and external security and the consequent primacy of the general staff in the formulation of national policies emerged above all in relation to the threat posed by Kurdish separatist terrorism, whose claims are represented by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (Partîya Karkerén Kurdîstan, Pkk), and which, since 1984, has engaged the Turkish armed forces in a low-intensity conflict that has claimed tens of thousands of casualties. A transnational phenomenon by definition – due to the dispersion of the Kurdish population between Turkey, Syria, northern Iraq and Iran -, the question has affected the coherent development of the south-eastern area of ​​the country for two decades, blocked by a state of substantial civil war., as well as Ankara’s bilateral relations with the countries where the Kurds live. In particular, the logistical support provided by the Syrian regime to the activities of the PKKbrought the two countries to the brink of armed conflict in October 1998. Only then did Damascus agree to close the Kurdish bases on its territory and expel the movement’s leader and founder, Abdullah Öcalan. Likewise, repeated military counter-terrorism actions by the Turkish army in North Iraqi territory have caused tensions between Ankara and the Iraqi federal authorities, as well as with those of the Kurdish regional government. Against the backdrop of the Syrian crisis and the rupture of relations between Ankara and Damascus, the cross-border terrorist activities of the Kurdish guerrillas have resumed on a large scale, bringing the issue back to the top of the political agenda. With the AkpNegotiations had begun to recognize greater autonomy for the Kurds, but were interrupted as a result of the Kobane crisis, while the Turkish army resumed operations against the PKK. For Turkey defense and foreign policy, please check recipesinthebox.com.

On a cross-border level, the other security problem set in motion by the Syrian crisis concerns the wave of refugees that have crossed the Turkish border since the beginning of the civil war. According to UNHCR data, the refugees arriving in Turkey since spring 2011 amounted to more than two million at the end of 2015.

The strategic role played by Turkey during the Cold War – when it was the bulwark against the Soviet expansionist push towards the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East – justified the construction of a national army which, within NATO, is second in number. of conscripts only to the US. Despite the modernization of the military and the disappearance of the Soviet threat, the Turkish army still holds this record today.

Despite the divergences of views with respect to regional policy, which partly reflected the common position on the Syrian question, the relationship with the United States remains of fundamental importance as regards Ankara’s security policies. Turkey hosts the important US air base of Incirlik, in a strategic position for the projection of the United States in the Middle East. While recent tensions with Israel have frozen a trilateral axis of cooperation that had been central to Turkish security policies in the 1990s, the Middle Eastern upheavals have generated new margins for strategic collaboration with the Atlantic Alliance. In December 2012, following repeated border incidents with Syria, Turkey requested and obtained from NATO the deployment in the area of ​​Patriot missiles, which arrived in the country starting in January 2013. Ankara’s initial reluctance to take part directly in the operations in Syria had again questioned Turkey’s role within NATO, the crisis is however, it returned in August 2015 when the Turkish fighters joined the air operations against the Islamic State. This decision came in the aftermath of the bloody attack in the town of Soruç, which hit a demonstration of young activists, causing the death of 33 of them. After the start of the Turkish operations in Syria and Iraq, Turkey has come under fire of I smore directly, as demonstrated by the subsequent attacks in Ankara on 10 October 2015 – an attack that caused more than 100 victims but whose responsibility is not yet clear – and in the central Sultanahmet square of Istanbul in January 2016, in which 10 died people, mostly German tourists.

Turkey, on the other hand, overcoming the initial hesitations, had guaranteed its support for NATO operations in Libya in 2011 and is engaged in many peacekeeping missions within the United Nations and NATO, such as those in Lebanon (Unifil). and in Afghanistan (Resolute Support), in addition to having a contingent of about 43,000 soldiers in the northern part of the island of Cyprus, the de facto Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (Kktc).

Turkey Defense and Security