The Turkish defense industry has a vast history, going back to the middle ages, according to the Defense Industry Agency (DIA).
In the Ottoman era, the military industry was mainly comprised of building artillery and muskets.
At the beginning of the Republic era in the 1920s, the military industry was regarded as an essential aspect of national industrial development. Following this, it was decided that the defense industry would be governed by the state.
Despite the efforts made by the Turkish government, American and British subsidies after the Second World War derailed the development of the industry.
The “Lend and Lease Act” perpetrated by the United States facilitated countries to buy military supplies from the US while undermining national industries and debt balances. The same occurrence also ensued in Türkiye; Türkiye effortlessly found the military supplies it looked for thanks to this Act while finding a massive gap in its debt balance.
This way, the NATO countries depended on the United States for military gear, nearly stopping production altogether.
The first thoughts of regaining independence in the defense sector came into life around the late 60s and early 70s. Following the embargoes imposed on Türkiye in the early 70s, the need for a domestic military industry proved itself needed.
In the 80s, one of the most vital steps in national defense was taken by establishing law 3238. The law introduced a new national defense understanding and a fast-paced system, according to the DIA.
Finally, in the 21st century, Türkiye became a country that produces and exports military gear and defense supplies.
BAYRAKTAR TB2 DRONE
Türkiye builds lots of different equipment, including but not limited to land, air, naval vehicles, missiles, long guns, radars, generators, etc.
Bayraktar TB2 is one of these gears. It is a military-grade weaponized drone developed by Baykar Tech, the first company to engineer a drone in Türkiye.
TB2 drone is used mainly by the Turkish Military in its combat with terrorist groups along the southern border.
Türkiye has exported TB2 to 15 countries. These countries are Poland, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Qatar, Turkmenistan, Morocco, Kyrgyzstan, Niger, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Djibouti, Burkina Faso, Libya, and Togo.
Out of these 15 countries, Libya, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan have used TB2 in active combat.
Azerbaijan used the drone in the Second Karabakh War with Armenia. The drones played a crucial role in solidifying the decisive Azeri victory as they were superior to Armenian weaponry. TB2’s performance received tons of praise from the international media and military researchers.
Ukraine’s use of TB2 is ongoing as the war with Russia continues. The drones have also helped Ukraine gain an advantage against Russia in the armed conflict, gaining praise as “the drone that changed the war.”
In the Libyan Civil War, Türkiye supplied the Government of National Accord (GNA) with drones. TB2 changed the tide for the GNA by enabling them to defend themselves in the air.
As the days go by, the TB2 drone and others write their legacy through their outstanding performance. With many more buyers on the way, the drones are booked for three years from now on. Indicating if an actor decides to order the drones, they will have to wait for three years minimum for their arrival.
ALL EYES ARE ON BAYRAKTAR TB2
Türkiye’s superstar drone Bayraktar TB2 draws attention from all over the world.
After joining the fleets of North African, European, Central Asian, Caucasian, and Arab countries, Bayraktar TB2 is also eyed by the states in West Africa.
Countries like Togo, Niger, and Burkina Faso have bought the TB2 upon seeing its performance in Azerbaijan, Libya, and Ukraine.
It is indicated that the demand from West African countries stems from the need to fight off the terrorist organizations within.
Bayraktar TB2’s success in combatting terrorists in the Türkiye-Syria border might have inspired these West African countries to employ the drone.
BBC’s Paul Melly identifies that drones are affordable and sensible alternatives to traditional aircraft since they require way less pilot training and facility costs and therefore are optimal for impoverished African countries.
Mansur Ali Bilgiç - 14/12/2022