Turkey’s efforts to arm itself and become one of the world’s major military powers continue, driven by President Erdogan. Recent months have seen the first fruits of the efforts undertaken, and some of the most important projects have recently seen the light of day. These include the Anadolu aircraft carrier, the KAAN fifth-generation fighter (officially unveiled this month by the Turkish president), the T129 ATAK helicopter, the Altay tank manufactured by a consortium of Turkish companies that may enter service next year, the Kirpi armored personnel carrier and Now it is the turn of the Tayfun short-range ballistic missile, which was successfully tested over the Black Sea last Tuesday. It is the longest-range ballistic missile ever tested in Turkey to date, and is manufactured by the domestic company Roketsan. Missiles such as the Tayfun give Turkey an important deterrent capability. In addition, this month Rokestan unveiled a medium-range ballistic missile that will be able to reach targets at ranges of up to 1,000 km and will be equipped with ailerons to adjust the flight direction. Testing is expected to begin later this year. Ismail Demir, director of Turkey’s military procurement agency, earlier this year estimated that the country’s industry could supply 80 percent of the country’s needs, and noted that arms exports reached $4 billion in 2022.
Türkiye the playmaker in the Middle East?
So far, Turkey has been limited to trying to contain its main enemy, Greece, with whom it has a historic territorial dispute both in Cyprus and on many islands in the Ionian and Aegean Seas, as well as in the eastern Mediterranean. According to experts, President Erdogan’s aspiration is to strengthen the country militarily so that Turkey can play a key role in conflicts in the Middle East. The mediation role in the war between Russia and Ukraine, the rivalry with Israel as a regional power, and the strategic position of the guardian of the Black Sea – an area of crucial importance for Euro-Atlantic security – have led to massive armaments that serve to strengthen the political and military power of the crescent country. It should not be forgotten that Turkey has been in strong competition with another great Muslim country in the region, Iran, for five hundred years. There are many similarities between the two powers: a similar population (about 80 million inhabitants), an imperial past and pride in not falling into Western colonization as many other countries of the East did. After World War I, both countries went through regimes that tried to modernize them along Western European lines, and now both are under Islamist rule, although Iran is a theocracy and Turkey is a theocracy on paper and is heading towards a dictatorship under Erdogan’s iron grip. The main difference is that Iran is a staunch ally of Russia and China, while Turkey sympathizes with the United States and is even a member of NATO. So is there fear of Ankara’s military might? Well, it doesn’t seem to pose a threat to the West at the moment, but we must not lose sight of its growing military resources or friendship with Russia, as its current “Atlantism” may swing the other way from being an ally to being enemy. The war in Ukraine has strengthened the position of Turkey, which is becoming an increasingly serious player in the geostrategic field precisely because of its increasingly powerful military arsenal and skillful maneuvering between East and West. Based on: la razon