How Covid-19 affect safety and security perceptions?

In today's world, unlike traditional risks, there are risks such as climate change, epidemics, irregular migration and cyber attacks. Therefore, the need for a new security concept in national security arises. The concept of "human security", highlighted by the pandemic, shows that public health is also of critical importance for national security.

The fact that countries and institutions use the term "war against the virus" instead of "fight against the virus" about Covid-19, which started in China and took the world under its influence in a short time, is seen as a sign of transformation in terms of security.

ROKETSAN General Manager Murat İkinci emphasizes that the need for a new security concept to be shaped around the concept of "human security" has come to the fore. Today's defense policies go beyond the defense of the country and include defending the civilian population against increasingly complex threats.

As a matter of fact, during the Covid-19 epidemic, in many countries from China to Italy, from France to South Africa, the armed forces were also included in the efforts of the states to combat the epidemic. In addition to providing medical support, the armed forces also help to implement the measures taken to maintain social distance.

According to Fahri Erenel, Director of the Security and Defense Strategies Application and Research Center at Istinye University, human security argues that the traditional understanding of security, which focuses only on the security of the state, should change.

In other words, human security is ensuring the security of people against all kinds of threats in their daily lives, being safe from chronic threats such as hunger and disease, and protecting their daily lives against sudden and bad disruptions.

While citizens and companies await protection from their own states, states have sought new ways to reduce their own vulnerabilities. The state shows not only its "outer protector" identity that stands out in the face of threats such as terrorism or immigration, but also its "internal protector" that defends its citizens. Today, as ensuring the safety of the people will be a priority, states and institutions will gain importance.

WHAT IS THE REAL THREAT?

The traditional understanding of security, which is effective in international relations, only considers threats to the state. This understanding, which sees security as the survival of states in an anarchic international environment and does not take into account the safety of people, is far from meeting the security concerns posed by the Covid-19 epidemic. The source of the threat in the pandemic is a virus, not the military forces of states. The threat is not directed at states, but directly at people's lives.

In a global world where interaction and interdependence between countries are increasing, a global struggle against these threats is necessary in order to ensure human security. Country-oriented local efforts are insufficient to combat global human security threats.

Although the changing and transforming dynamics of the international system have evolved from state-based approaches to individual-based approaches, the power and influence of states is an undeniable reality when it comes to security. Therefore, the transformation of the concept of military power, which is accepted as the building block of national security, is very important.

Power can be defined as the material and moral potential of a state to protect its own interests or to impose its demands on the other party. While the classical hard power in the historical process was defined as military power, today military power has turned into a smart power with technology and economy. Smart power is the use of both hard and soft power together to achieve goals.

Unless military power is supported by technology and economic power, or economic interests and technological developments cannot be protected by military force, neither military nor economic power and technological developments can mean anything on their own.

TRANSFORMATION IN NATIONAL SECURITY

Murat İkinci stated that under the leadership of the Presidency of Defense Industries, technologies developed by defense industry companies are planned to be transferred to the health sector.

Thus, respiratory device and medical equipment studies were accelerated, and disease diagnosis and follow-up applications were developed by using existing technologies in material technologies, imaging devices, electronic equipment, data analytics and modeling.

It is thought that the Covid-19 outbreak may create new market and project opportunities for defense industry companies.

In this context, it is aimed to work on topics such as effective monitoring of biological risks against epidemics in Turkey, rapid diagnosis, establishment of a warning system, and creation of a database. The Covid-19 outbreak highlighted military and civilian research projects in fields such as genetics, microbiology and nanotechnology, and once again demonstrated the importance of systems developed for chemical, biological and radiological nuclear threats.

Considering all this, it can be said that the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed some important opportunities as well as the negativities caused. It is obvious that the importance of digital technologies, especially decision support systems, that make serious contributions in countries like Turkey, where digital transformation in health has reached the maturity stage, will increase during the Covid-19 crisis. The experiences gained in the Covid-19 epidemic will shed light on future studies, and there will be much more opportunities to detect pandemics earlier, prevent their spread and end them with as little damage as possible, thanks to the new products, applications and decision support systems to be developed.