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Daily News Analysis

Regional implications of Turkey’s indigenous weapons industry

Crescent International

The successful performance of Turkish drones in the Karabakh clashes and their outperforming Israeli drones has created much euphoria among Muslims.

The development of militarily advanced indigenous technologies by a Muslim country is a rarity and praiseworthy for many Muslims.

Turkey’s ability to increase its military capability is another step towards a multi-polar world order and is a strategic development when looked at in the broader context.

This reality combined with exaggerated assessment of Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has led to unrealistic assumptions by many in the Muslims world.

It should be kept in mind that wars are not won by weapons alone, as the Yemeni, Lebanese, Syrian, and Afghan theaters of war show.

For many years, NATO’s PR machine used to project Turkish military, both domestically and externally, in a positive light.

On the domestic front the military was NATO’s internal bulwark against the Islamic movement coming to power in Turkey.

On the external front, exaggerating Turkish military power served as psychological leverage against the USSR.

In reality, the Turkish military has not fought a serious adversary since WW-I.

In March 2020, when Turkey invaded Syria and deployed expensive military drones to spearhead the campaign, the Syrian army was at a technological disadvantage, so it suffered large-scale casualties.

Within a few days, however, the Syrian army managed to adapt its military tactics and began to neutralize Turkey’s aerial superiority.

Syrian troops soon recaptured the strategic town of Saraqeb.

So, what is a realistic effect of Turkey’s ability to produce modern weapons?

Ankara can effectively confront any state entity that launches a direct attack against it.

Even though Turkish military procurement and manufacturing processes are still tied to external players for certain parts, it has the minimal know-how and basic industrial base required of a contemporary modern state.

In Turkey’s immediate vicinity no threat of conventional war against it exists.

Plus, Ankara does not even utilize its weapons industry to deepen its influence strategically.

Most of Turkey’s weapons customers are state entities in the Muslim world that are tied to Washington or Tel Aviv.

Erdoğan is not upsetting anyone or shifting the strategic balance anywhere by selling weapons to Qatar, Ukraine or the Syrian takfiri militants.

Nevertheless, Ankara’s ability to produce weapons combined with its self-assertiveness throws an aspect of unpredictability into the Western instituted political and security architecture.

There is now an additional player whom the Western powers must accommodate, and this will chip away at their influence.

If Ankara decides to increase its support for its proxies one day, its indigenous weapons industries may prove to be an important asset to increase its regional influence.

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