The Dynamics of Turkish Defense Industrialization

Dr. Çağlar Kurç

Date&Time: 15.12.2017, Friday, 12.30
Room: A330

Turkey has been investing in its national defense industrial base since the 1980s. Recently, Turkey started to reap the fruits of this investment as the local production level has reached 60%. Yet, Turkey is far from its defense industrialization goal – self-sufficiency in defense production in 2023. In this paper, we will look into why Turkey adopts and continues to pursue self-sufficiency goal in defense industrialization and evaluate the possibility of Turkey’s self-sufficiency in defense production. We argue that three factors are important in the pursuit of self-sufficiency. First, Turkey believes that there is an overall improvement in its defense industrial capabilities and the goal of self-sufficiency is reachable. Second, increased defense exports support the belief that Turkish defense industries have become sustainable and the trend will continue in the future. The third reason, perhaps most important of all, has to do with the domestic political gains of defense industrialization: the AKP uses defense industry and indigenous weapon systems for prestige and, therefore, garners broader support. Yet, the search for self-sufficiency in defense production is hindered by the interplay of institutional deficiencies and the continuous dependency on foreign inputs.

Bio: Caglar Kurc is an adjunct lecturer at Cankaya University. During 2012-2013, he was a Fulbright Fellow at the MIT Security Studies Program. Between 2015-2017, he was a visiting post-doctoral scholar in the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University. He holds an M.A. in War Studies from King\'s College London, and a Ph.D. in International Relations from Middle East Technical University, Ankara. His research interests include defense procurement and industries in developing countries, global arms production networks, and security policy. His work has appeared in the Defense Studies, Defense One, International Reports and Valdai Discussion Club.