'A bad neigh­bor makes one a prop­erty owner'

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Politics -

World War I marked the fall of the Ot­toman Empire and all Is­lamic lands were even­tu­ally oc­cu­pied by Western colo­nial pow­ers. Af­ter an al­most two cen­tury-long ef­fort, they suc­ceeded in oc­cu­py­ing Is­tan­bul, the for­mer Chris­tian cap­i­tal of the Western Ro­man Empire. But the Turk­ish na­tion ul­ti­mately pre­vailed and de­spite bat­tling des­per­ate con­di­tions, it achieved in­de­pen­dence.

Al­though Turkey was freed from land oc­cu­pa­tion, a cul­tural and eco­nomic oc­cu­pa­tion of the coun­try re­mained. Industrial and agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion in post-war Turkey was in­signif­i­cant. Western colo­nial­ism con­tin­ued at the ex­pense of Turkey’s na­tional in­ter­ests. The coun­try’s colo­nial in­tel­lec­tu­als were in­fat­u­ated with their “big broth­ers” in the west and un­der­es­ti­mated the coun­try’s power po­ten­tial, em­brac­ing the idea of a semi-col­o­nized Turkey, de­pen­dent on Western pow­ers and with­out its in­de­pen­dent econ­omy.

Af­ter the harsh re­al­i­ties un­der a sin­gle po­lit­i­cal party and World War II came to an end, Turkey be­came a NATO mem­ber to face an es­ca­lat­ing threat against its ter­ri­tory from the Soviet Union. Thanks to the dy­nam­ics of the Cold War, Turkey was taken into con­sid­er­a­tion by the Western pow­ers, pro­vid­ing eco­nomic and mil­i­tary aid to their al­lies.

When the Cyprus Peace Op­er­a­tion be­gan in 1974, the Turk­ish army faced a grim re­al­ity. In the sec­ond phase of the war, the Western pow­ers im­posed a near arms block­ade on the coun­try as it an­nounced that Turkey could only use its arms against the Soviet Union. Thanks to the Cyprus Cri­sis re­al­ity check, Turk­ish state of­fi­cials grasped the idea that Turkey must pro­duce its own weapons and weapon sys­tems.

Dur­ing the short-lived coali­tion govern­ment rule in 1974, formed un­der the lead­er­ship of the Repub­li­can Peo­ple’s Party’s (CHP) Bü­lent Ece­vit and Na­tional Sal­va­tion Party’s (MSP) Necmet­tin Er­bekan, se­ri­ous at­tempts were made to es­tab­lish lo­cal weapon pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties, re­sult­ing in the foun­da­tion of ASELSAN in 1975.

In other words, Turkey’s lo­cal de­fense in­dus­try was born be­cause of an arms block­ade im­posed by its Western “al­lies.” De­spite all the counter-at­tempts, Turkey now boasts a boom­ing de­fense in­dus­try that pro­duces a vast ar­ray of weapons and mil­i­tary ve­hi­cles. Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan, in a re­cent mil­i­tary brief­ing, or­dered the Turk­ish army to de­velop its own lon­grange mis­sile sys­tem.

While Turkey con­tin­ues its bat­tle against a num­ber of dan­ger­ous ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing the PKK, Daesh and FETÖ, Ger­many, one of its so called al­lies, is dis­cussing the sus­pen­sion of arms sale to Turkey. But it seems to com­pletely ig­nore the fact that as Turkey takes the fight to Daesh, the num­ber of ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Turkey and Europe would go down.

It also over­looks the fact that Ger­many’s cur­rent anti-Turkey at­ti­tude might im­pair our war on ter­ror but will cer­tainly con­trib­ute to the fur­ther devel­op­ment of the Turk­ish de­fense in­dus­try. Also, it is not im­pos­si­ble to ac­quire the lat­est weapons tech­nol­ogy from other coun­tries, which nur­ture no hos­til­ity to­wards Turkey.

İh­san Ak­taş

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