National Technology Initiative: Social Reflections and Türkiye's Future

National Technology Initiative in the Context of International Relations

The defence industry has pioneered technological developments throughout Turkish history, as in all other nations. The Turkish states was in leading and decisive positions both in regional and international arena during the periods when their defence technology was superior. However, during the periods when their defence technology began to decline, they experienced difficulties caused by foreign dependency in this field. 15th and 16th centuries, defined as the Rising Period of the Ottoman Empire can be an example in this regard. In this period, the Ottoman Empire developed its military capabilities by itself to a large extent and became an empire that spread over three continents. The opposite was observed during the periods of stagnation and regression. The founding cadres, who emerged victorious from the War of Independence and founded the Republic of Türkiye, made great investments in the field of defense industry, as they did in every field, together with the Republican period. These investments led to the establishment of deep-rooted institutions that form the basis of the civil and defence industry in all areas of the country. After the Second World War, with the close military cooperation with the United States of America (USA), some defense industry institutions were closed and foreign dependency in the arms industry increased. While this situation brought a heavy burden to Türkiye’s economy, it also prevented it from taking steps towards its national interests in the international arena. The arms embargo imposed on Türkiye by the USA after the 1974 Cyprus Peace Operation once again revealed the importance of possessing domestic and national technology. Since the 1990s, some states, using Türkiye’s fight against terrorism as an excuse, have imposed restrictions on the sale of arms and ammunition to Türkiye from time to time. Established in the 1980s following the end of the embargoes, Turkish defence industry organisations first started to manufacture licensed parts and then national and original products/platforms after the 2000s. These products met the military and strategic needs of the Turkish Armed Forces, and they have also positively contributed to international relations through export to friendly and allied countries. This study explores the processes and developments in Turkish defence industry, which is the source and core of the national technology initiative, from the pre-Republican era to the present, with a focus on their effects on Türkiye’s international relations.

Çağrı Erhan, Süleyman Baştürk, Doğu Çağdaş Atilla, Oğuz Ata, Onur Ağma
DOI: 10.53478/TUBA.978-625-8352-17-7.ch08