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ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich) Sayfasında Yayınlanan Makale

Mayıs 2007'de kaleme aldığımız aşağıdaki makale, ETH - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich International Relations and Security Network (ISN) sayfasında yayınlanmıştır.


Defense White Paper of Turkey for 2007

1. Preface

The security organizations such as United Nations (UN) and Western European Union (WEU), the end of Cold War, and the unprecedented upsurge of international activities designed to stop ongoing wars and prevent new ones starting all have had a remarkable impact on the reduction of armed conflicts in the world today. Indeed, the number of armed conflicts has dropped 40% since 1992, the number of international crises fell by more than 70% between 1981 and 2001, and wars between countries are more rare than in previous eras and now constitute less than 5% of all armed conflicts. However, as the world’s economic and social problems become more sophisticated and the access for information and technology becomes relatively easier, a new phenomenon emerges; namely, global peace and stability. The askew character of beneficiaries of resources coupled with continuous struggle to find solutions for countries’ entangled structural problems despite the remarkable increase in the amount of knowledge render today’s era unique; hence, the increasing emphasis on security entails a deeper and thorough analysis.

Turkey firmly believes that all global problems are solvable irrespective of their complexity, as long as mutual understanding and cooperation could be made a fixed part of interstate relations. Particularly in the aftermath of September 11 tragedy, international terrorism has become the priority of world politics; yet, the hesitant stance of many states and the lack of political will vis-à-vis terrorism and its sanctuaries constitute a deficiency for international peace. The failure to achieve a multilateral climate for peace is today’s one of the most significant policy troubles. Turkey has no hesitation that more progress could be attained should a firm volition would be demonstrated from all the participants of international community and is more willing to lay out her commitment to bring about a safer world.

2. Turkey’s geopolitical environment

Arguably, the most challenging occurring in the last five years affecting Turkey is the second Iraqi war. Besides the war itself, the subsequent insurgency at a level of an unanticipated intensity and the day-to-day deterioration have caused a major insecurity vacuum in the southeast of Turkey. Moreover, after the fall of Saddam administration, the Iraqi Kurds are encouraged to seek for an independent state by using all sorts of aggression, mainly vis-à-vis Turkmens. The latter’s constitutional rights are not protected and their existence is being threatened by the Kurds, bringing forth a beyond-the-border conflict. The status-quo against the Turkmens cannot be accepted by Turkey as a domestic issue of Iraq because of their strong historical and cultural affiliation with Turkey, let alone centuries-long Turkmen presence in the region makes them a congenital component. In addition, Turkey can and will not let the overt or clandestine efforts of Kurdisizing the city of Kirkuk.

The PKK sanctuaries and terrorist camps mainly in the foothills of Mount Qandil are closely scrutinized by Turkey. The fact that the area where peshmerga groups are settled is under virtually complete control of American troops since the second Iraqi war originates a liability on United States, long-lasting ally of Turkey, and Turkey maintains its positiveness -arising from historical solidarity- that the dilemma will be solved by the wise statesmanship of the leaders of both sides. The truth is that the common denominator between Turkey and America is too large to neglect. As for the historical neighbors in the Northern Iraq, Turkey believes that a bona fide move toward making a public statement of the condemnation of armed PKK peshmergas will serve in initiating a rapprochment. Turkey reminds to her neighbors their liabilities arising from international law. Article 51 of UN Charter acknowledges that “[n]othing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations”; ergo, she invites Iraqi officials to increase their efforts to halt the continuation of PKK activities.

The next issue of critical importance is Turkey’s accession to the European Union. Turkey firmly believes that the negotiation talks which started in 2006 in 35 different policy areas, namely chapters, can be concluded in less than a decade period thanks to the will and dedication of Turkish society to the necessary political and economic progress sought from candidate countries. The EU project certainly has a continental dimension and Turkey cannot remain outside of it. Nevertheless, Turkey deserves equal treatment like any other past candidate state and full membership of Turkey to the European Union should be dealt above the short-term political gains.

In economical terms, lack of Turkey will mean for Europe a lack of steadily increasing GDP level, an export oriented economy and developing information society. Taking measures to realize full productivity potential, Turkey could create 6 million additional jobs by 2015 and achieve annual GDP growth as high as 8.5 percent. In social terms, the significant aging problem in Europe translates into less taxable income and lower revenues from social contributions, which means more working years, higher taxes, fewer pensions for a shorter period of time. Most of all, nonetheless, the European Union owes the roots of its cultural understanding to Renaissance ideals and it should remain as a socio-cultural mosaic based on the norms of democracy, rule of law, diversity and multiculturalism.

Another challenge is the case of Afghanistan where NATO arguably undergoes the single most significant test since its foundation. What makes the task even more problematic is the new role of the organization; that is, combining military job with the state-building efforts and converging civilian efforts with military responsibilities. Turkey is aware of the inevitable need for support from all members, European states in particular, in handling security concerns and is utterly committed to fulfill her part in the light of changing global security climate and in dealing with all of the dimensions of security challenges, such as economical issues, poverty, criminality, democratization and capacity building for failing states. Turkey believes in the extension of good governance and human rights to strengthen the international order instead of regime changes. Furthermore, the dynamic security environment demonstrates that the new threats cannot be resolved in a pure militaristic approach; rather, there is a need for a mixture of instruments, such as intelligence, police, judicial, military and other means.

As for the developments in the Balkans, since the collapse of Soviet Union and disintegration of Yugoslavia, there has been an increasing acceptance of western political and economic institutions following decades of centralized administrations and protectionist economical practices. In attempts to contribute to continuous peace and stabilization as well as positive political, economic and social development in the Balkans, Turkey makes every effort to develop bilateral and multilateral relations with the countries in the region and to provide her utmost support. Turkey is a genuine supporter of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe which aims to provide stability and permanent peace in the Balkans after the Kosovo crisis.

With regard to the situation of the Kosovo, Turkey strongly advocates a permanent solution for existing Kosovo conflict and so far has spent enormous efforts in the bilateral and international plans aiming a diplomatic solution for the problem. It is imperative that the international community’s travail related to the problem include a guarantee of equal legal rights for all Kosovan communities, including those of Turkish origin. In providing assistance to the region, Turkey has never refrained from her responsibilities and contributed both to the civilian UN Temporary Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the Kosovo Implementation Force (KFOR).

Caucasus, being at the crossroads of Eurasian energy and transport corridors in post-Cold War era, reflects a great significance for the stability and prosperity of the whole Eurasian region. Turkey attributes a special importance to the Caucasus because of her own security and stability concerns apart from the fact that the region constitutes a natural link to the Central Asian countries with which Turkey has close political, economic, social and cultural ties. Turkey believes that consolidation of independence, democratic structures and market economy in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia along with their territorial integrity carry significant weight in the search for peace and stabilization in Caucasus. Turkey actively supported the aforementioned countries’ integration into the Euro-Atlantic institutions such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), NATO and the Council of Europe as well as regional organizations like the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC).

Nevertheless, the “frozen conflicts”, namely Nagorno Karabakh and Abkhazia, continue to be the leading obstacles to permanent peace and stability in the region. Nagorno Karabag problem should be solved by paying utmost attention to territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and protecting the rights of the inhabitants in the area. Turkey supports the OSCE Minsk Group which tries to bring a peaceful resolution to the conflict and believes in the constructiveness and efficacy of direct negotiations, started at the level of Heads of States. Turkey is willing normalize its relations with Armenia, who unfortunately does not make it possible because of its stance contrary to the spirit of good neighborly relations. Article 11 of the Armenian Declaration of Independence accepts the Eastern Anatolia Region of Turkey as “Western Armenia” and moreover, Article 13, paragraph 2 of Armenian Constitution demonstrates Mount Ağrı, situated in Turkey, as a part of the coat of arms of Armenia. Last but not least, Armenia refuses to recognize the existing common border between the two countries that was documented in the Kars and Gümrü Treaties of 1921. As for the Abkhazian problem, Turkey gives her complete support for the solution of the conflict in peaceful ways and within the territorial integrity of Georgia. The related parties should avoid the involvement in political tensions which might impede the continuation of dialogue and mutual confidencebuilding measures.

Turkey has deep historical and cultural ties with the Middle East and yearns for a perpetual piece in this conflict-hit part of the world with the belief that her national interests would be served with the prevalence of peace and stability in the region. Turkey believes in the benefits of the continuation of the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP) and desires a long-awaited completion of the process. Hereby, she accredits the UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and the principle of “land for peace”. Turkey’s wish is to see a region where two states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in entirely peaceful way and within secure and recognized borders. While Turkey reminds international community the legal and indispensable rights of the Palestinian people, she is also eager to continue her relations and cooperation with Israel which certainly does not target any country in the region.

3. Turkey’s internal environment

Domestically, the top priority of Turkey is to exterminate PKK terror. The PKK is today’s one of the most savage terrorist organizations adopting a revolutionist Marxist-Leninist ideology in the southeast part of Turkey. The wide range of violent atrocities it has committed include the ones who have Kurdish ethnic background and as in the case of Pınarcık, a Kurdish village not supportive of its case, it did not hesitate to pitilessly kill an entire population in June 1987. The continued brutality of terrorist organization counterworks as a destabilizing tool against the democratic, economic and social progress of the citizens of the region. There is no hesitation that the determined warfare of Turkey vis-à-vis PKK terrorist organization will persist until the latter’s -and probable replacers’- complete extinction would be achieved. Maybe not even a single issue exists within the Turkish society as consolidative as PKK terror. There is a nondecreasing political stamina among the policy-makers regardless of their ideological views, complete determination in the armed forces, and an endless patience and sacrifice among the populace in the battle against terror.

Turkey considers religious extremism as a national security phenomenon that must be closely scrutinized. The fact that Turkish State is a secular republic since 1924 thanks to the reforms laid out by Great Atatürk and that Article 4 of the Constitution declares the immovability the founding principles of the Republic defined in the first three Articles, including the secular form of the State, make Turkey unique among the nations where the majority of the populations are Muslims. Turkey will continue to stay strongly connected to secularism and maintain its cruciality while defending the right for free exercise of religion. Turkey is aware that, among others, one of the motives of the religious extremist movements is to challenge her modern institutions -led by secularism- which adhere Turkey to the civilized world and to destabilize the State by exploiting the genuine morals and spirituals of the citizens. Nevertheless, Turkey is more determined than ever not to allow a deviation from the path of modernity or a perverse initiative that would aim to swerve the country.

As for the economical developments, prospects for Turkey are very bright. Between 2002 and 2006, output increased by a third reflecting the strongest growth rate among OECD countries, the economy set a new all-time record by growing 20 quarters in a row and annual inflation fell dramatically to reach single digits in 2004 for the first time in three decades. The appealing future of the country is appreciated, too, by the foreign investors, which is evident in the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) figures of the first quarter of 2007. During that period, FDI exceeded $10 billion and the year-end target is a striking 50 percent more compared to that of the previous year when FDI was realized approximately $20 billion. Thanks to fiscal consolidation and fiscal transparency, the interest rates fell significantly, which facilitated a remarkable reduction in the fiscal deficit from 19% of GDP in 2001 to 2.5% in 2005 whereas the level of government debt declined from 90% to 55% of GDP. Turkey is on the brink of bouncing to the league of premier economies and has made every effort to achieve a transition to a more sustainable and stronger growth path. Turkey’s aim is to increase the wealth of her citizens and bring the living standards even closer to that of the high income OECD countries.

4. National security policy, defense policy and military strategy

As defined in the Law No. 2945, the National Security Council (NSC) makes the decisions related to the designation, determination and application of the national security policy of the state and provision of the necessary coordination. The law expresses Turkish National Security as “[t]he preservation and protection against all kinds of internal and external threats to the constitutional order of the state, her national existence, her integrity and all her political, social, cultural and economic interests and contractual rights in the international arena.” Hence, the national values of the state which are of critical importance are “constitutional order, national existence, integrity, national interests and contractual rights.” NSC determines the necessary measures in order to preserve the constitutional order and is deeply committed to the protection of Turkish people whose national unity and integrity are shaped around the ideals of Atatürk’s Principles and Reforms.

Modern era threats have altered in a way that army-to-army battles have been mostly replaced by asymmetric warfare and that multi-dimensional format of international terrorism, fed by technological know-how, smuggling of drugs and other sorts of organized crime, has brought a new concept to the national defense. Political, social and economic instabilities that are arising from failing states’ incapabilities and these countries’ lack of delivering the most basic services provide several sanctuaries for terrorism. Moreover, regional and ethnic conflicts, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles, and religious fundamentalism are all relatively recent phenomena. Given the fact that the geographical location of Turkey has close proximity to the Balkans, Caucasus and the Middle East, she is always vigilant vis-à-vis these new threats and risks which are heavily concentrated in the named regions.

Turkey’s defense policy, hence, includes an even greater prudence in facing such threats to protect her independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as her vital interests. National defense policy of Turkey aims:

· To act as an actor of balance of power in the region.

· To take initiatives for cooperation with her neighbors as well as other members of international community.

· To contribute to the new strategy and security doctrines emerging because of the shifts in global security.

· To be a provider of peace and contributor of security in and around the region.

In order to achieve the mentioned targets, Turkish defense policy is based on the principles of preserving the republic, independence, and territorial integrity, taking all possible measures of preventing crises and conflicts, being a major player in collective defense systems, and avoiding and lowering all external tensions. In strengthening the defense policy laid out here, Turkey’s military strategy is comprised of four major points: Deterrence, being militarily active in contributing crisis management and intervention in crises, forward defense and collective security. The first one attributes maintaining military forces in problematic areas, namely high-risk regions, in order to face instability and uncertainty. The second demonstrates Turkey’s responsible manner in attempting to find peaceful solutions to ongoing crises. Forward defense aims to take a quick stance against a probable aggression and immediately stop it. Finally, collective security has the goal of participating in international and regional alliances/organizations such as NATO, WEU and European Security and Defense Identity (ESDI). Such participation includes, among others, continuation of providing cooperation, technical assistance and training.

Turkey has espoused Atatürk’s principle of “Peace at Home, Peace in the World” and she is committed to maintain this legacy. Turkey is dedicated to construct peaceful relations with her neighbors and be in full respect for their territorial borders and unity as well as utterly contribute to regional and international peace, stability and socioeconomic development. In retrospect, she hopes to receive the same treatment and amount of respect from her neighbors as well as other actors of international community. Unfortunately, despite her explicit will of finding solutions to the existing regional and global problems by mutual respect and her fidelity to the notion of consultation with her counterparts, there have been various forms of external malevolence and hostilities. Turkey is fully aware of the ill will of the related parties, groups and states against her sovereignty and territorial unity and, by all means, has the decisiveness, stamina and social coherence to overcome those threats.


· Eraslan, Yansı. 2007. “Kurdish Conundrum and Surmounting PKK Terrorism: A Lengthy Challenge for Turkey”. John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

· Eraslan, Yansı. 2006. “The New NATO: Adapting the Alliance to Meet the New Security Challenges”. John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.

· Eraslan, Yansı. 2005. “Turkish Dilemma for EU: Membership or Offering to Create a New Category of Nations?” John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. October.

· European Security Strategy. 2003. “A Secure Europe in a Better World”. Brussels, December 21.

· Hamilton, Daniel. 2004. “What is Transformation and What Does It Mean for NATO”, in: Hamilton (ed.), Transatlantic Transformations - Equipping NATO for the 21st Century. Center for Transatlantic Transformation, chapter 1, pp. 3-23.

· Human Security Center at the Liu Institute for Global Issues, University of British Columbia. “The Human Security Report 2005”. Oxford University Press.

· Kaleağası, Bahadır. 2004. “What Turkey Could Bring to the EU”. International Herald Tribune, October 29.

· Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Turkey. Turkey's Relations with the Middle East, (, accessed on April 17, 2007.

· Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Turkey. Turkey´s Relations With Southern Caucasus, (, accessed on April 17, 2007.

· Ministry of National Defense, Turkey. 2000. “Defense White Paper.” Ankara.

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