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Türkiye’s Baykar diplomacy in the defense industry

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The achievements of defense firms like Baykar enhance Türkiye’s reputation as a reliable technology developer, bolstering its international diplomacy

he history of Türkiye’s defense industry has always been rich and fascinating. This process stretches from Ottoman-era cannon foundries and shipyards to military-industrial hubs like Tophane and the Haliç shipyards. The Republic of Türkiye built a more methodical framework to address its own defense requirements.

The establishment of the Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation (MKEK) in 1927 was a significant milestone at this time. Following World War II, the defense industry received increased attention, and several military industries were built. Türkiye experienced tremendous change during the 1980s as a result of the nationalization and indigenization of the defense industry. Significant sums of money were invested in the development of key technologies for the defense sector during this time. Significant progress was achieved and organizations like Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), Aselsan, Roketsan and Havelsan were founded. The Turkish military industry has advanced significantly during the 2000s and is now competitive on a worldwide scale in fields including electronic warfare systems, modern combat aircraft, armored carriers and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Furthermore, Türkiye is now able to export defense items and generate enough to fulfill its own defense requirements. The Turkish defense industry has developed into an essential industry today, drawing attention with its technical advancements and expansion focused on local manufacturing. Türkiye may now play a more active role in international affairs and enjoy more strategic independence as a result of such developments.

Many countries are drawn to Türkiye’s defense industry because of its high quality and affordably low cost. Many countries throughout the world prefer Bayraktar TB2 UAVs, which have proven to be useful in a variety of zones of conflict. This has improved the worldwide acceptability of Türkiye’s defense products and enhanced defense exports. In addition, Turkish defense exports also have a significant impact on Turkish foreign policy and international relations. Exports of military industry products reinforce Türkiye’s strategic alliances and set the basis for future collaborations. The rise in Turkish military industry exports indicates the country’s technological competence and innovative capacity.

This is a crucial step toward shifting Türkiye’s military industry from one focused on the domestic market to one that is global in scope. Furthermore, Türkiye’s foreign policy strategies heavily rely on its military capabilities, and in this context, a form of “defense diplomacy” is being carried out. The most significant player in this context is Baykar, which has recently signed cooperation agreements like co-production and technology transfer agreements abroad, allowing Türkiye to play a significant role in regional and global security issues, particularly in the fight against terrorism. The strategies and technologies that Baykar developed made it viable for an exclusive kind of “Baykar diplomacy” to flourish.

Defense industry supplies not only provide economic benefits but also help Türkiye extend its range of influence in the global scene and strengthen its strategic partnerships. In addition to increasing Türkiye’s standing within military alliances such as NATO, Türkiye’s defense industry exports have helped it to establish new customers in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, as well as build relationships with governments in these regions. In addition to its foreign policy initiatives, Türkiye has developed an assertive intelligence and defense industry diplomacy. As a matter of fact, it is the most significant country in the region, and its perspective and action have been indispensable in major international crises, including Syria, Libya, Ukraine and, most recently, Gaza. The country’s strength stems from both its formidable NATO member army and its effective foreign policy strategies. With the help of each of these elements, Türkiye may interact with other countries and play a more active part in the international defense industry network by exchanging technology and information. This strengthens Türkiye’s position as a strategic actor both locally and worldwide, and it is an important aspect of its defense diplomacy efforts.

Diversifying defense exports

The advanced, complicated and diversified nature of today’s defense industry vehicles is certainly attributable to the transformation of exports, which were formerly limited to land vehicles, into a diplomatic instrument. Türkiye has become a voice in security at the regional and global levels, minimizing its dependency on countries like the United States, especially with the defense industry it developed in 2020 and beyond since Türkiye has suffered both material and human losses from years of military operations to combat terrorism. Türkiye’s position in defense diplomacy and international relations has been reinforced by Baykar’s success in selling its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), such as TB2, Akıncı and Kızılelma, to regions such as Eastern Europe and Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and the Pacific. The performance of the Baykar vehicles in Syria is without a doubt one of the most significant achievements in these spots. The company’s achievements in Syria highlight the practicality and strategic significance of UAV technology in the field. Syria’s demonstrations, which at first seemed to be part of the Arab Spring but were later met with violent interventions by the Bashar Assad regime, devolved into a civil war that also impacted Türkiye, one of the country’s neighbors.

To protect its borders and get rid of threats from groups it views as terrorist organizations, Türkiye has conducted military operations, including Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018) and Peace Spring (2019). Türkiye’s standing as a regional power has been significantly impacted by its involvement, both domestically and internationally.

The military forces have gained a strategic edge due to Baykar Türkiye’s performance with TB2s in the operations carried out in Syria due to its ability to detect enemy targets from a considerable distance and provide uninterrupted intelligence by remaining in the air for extended periods of time. Consequently, Türkiye’s dominance and achievements have proven its status as a regional force and stabilizer. In the aftermath of Syria, Türkiye’s actions in Libya, Azerbaijan and Ukraine bolstered its diplomatic arguments. The country, the voice of which is heard throughout the region, has shown on the international stage that without Türkiye’s participation, stability cannot be attained or diplomacy carried out. Another significant aspect is the role that Baykar vehicles have had in promoting peace in countries like Burkina Faso. Furthermore, the TB2s employed in Ukraine have provided the government with strategic surveillance and information collection capabilities due to their high-resolution cameras and extended durability. This is especially important for analyzing the situation in battle zones and identifying enemy targets. Türkiye has grown in influence in NATO and other international forums by using its success as a diplomatic instrument in military and security-related issues. Baykar’s performance in Ukraine has contributed significantly to Türkiye’s defense diplomacy, allowing the country to enjoy strategic benefits in international relations by becoming an even more competitive and effective player in the global defense industry market.

Defense diplomacy: Strengthening int’l ties

Apart from executing agreements related to energy, trade, health or transportation during official visits overseas, Türkiye has now addressed domestic needs and initiated measures to satisfy international needs, paving the way for the signing of agreements related to the defense industry. Additionally, such agreements have improved the nations’ diplomatic relations. Türkiye’s relations with NATO and the West have improved as a result of its backing for Ukraine. This backing demonstrates Türkiye’s ability to work together with the West and its importance as a partner in regional security issues. The fact that foreign policy may be carried out concurrently with the defense industry has allowed Türkiye to become a more competitive and effective player in the worldwide defense industry sector, resulting in strategic benefits in international relations.

In conclusion, Türkiye employs a variety of diplomatic, economic and military approaches in tandem with multilateral diplomacy to efficiently impact both regional and international affairs. This strategy is designed to uphold Türkiye’s interests and geopolitical position. The achievements of defense industry corporations like Baykar are essential to this international diplomacy. This boosts Türkiye’s reputation as a technology developer and dependable partner, bolstering the country’s international diplomacy efforts. Without a doubt, countries’ rising demand for military industrial equipment will remain a significant diplomatic instrument for countries such as Türkiye, which aspires to complete independence in this respect.

Source: Daily Sabah / Tuğba Koç

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