'A bad neighbor makes one a property owner'
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.