Table of Contents
An Insight into a Rapidly Expanding Security Market
Turkey is witnessing unprecedented economic growth that very few countries can match. Far from its European counterparts who are seeing their economies slowly grow, Turkey is experiencing a boom in economic wellbeing and trade driven by not only foreign investment but an expanding, domestic export market. The percentage of GDP made up through exports rose between 2005 and 2012, from x % to x % and this is reflected in a x % GDP growth in 2012. To support this expansion the government has planned to overhaul national infrastructure, to improve the state’s technology base, communications and public services. Istanbul in particular has been targeted for investment and expansion, cementing its place as Turkey’s most important city for business. The development of infrastructure has also been driven by Turkey’s continuing desire to undertake high profile sporting events, with international competitions such as the Under-20 World Cup and the 2013 Mediterranean Games being hosted in the country. This drive towards sporting events has also seen Turkey lodge a high profile but unsuccessful bid for the 2020 Olympic Games.
Turkey’s geographical position, which is at the meeting point of Europe and Asia, means that not only has the state become a more important regional actor but its role in Euro-Asia trade has also become increasingly important. Investment in oil and gas pipelines has enabled Turkey to not only engage with other high profile nations such as China and Russia but has also allowed other industries to thrive. While ties with both Europe and Asia have increased, the business dynamics in Turkey still remain distinct from their European neighbours. Strong elite within the upper echelons of government means that government security procurement is made within a small political group. International suppliers entering the market must understand this different procurement structure together with the heavy focus that the government brings to large scale security projects.
However, it is Turkey’s geographical location and its domestic political situation that pose the biggest threats to its continued economic prosperity. The country shares border with Syria, Iraq and Iran, which means that the issue of international terrorism is a real concern to policy makers. This issue of domestic and border security has been enhanced only since the revolution in Syria, when Turkish citizens near the border region were exposed to an increased risk of violence. Turkey also has a history of domestic terrorism with the far-left Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) still posing a risk to both law enforcement and critical national infrastructure.
The goal of this Market Insight is to discuss the economic and social factors that are driving growth within the Turkish security market and what steps international security suppliers may have to take, in order to operate within the market. Although economically strong, a fragmented and primarily domestic security market can make it difficult for international companies to successfully operate in the country.
The National Security Strategy
While Turkey’s National Security Strategy is not placed in the public domain as it is with other EU nations, the states modern security concerns are still based on historical threats. Turkey’s traditional security concerns have been based primarily around border defence and terrorism (both international and domestic), with its geographical location playing an important role and these security concerns have not altered dramatically in recent years. The National Security Strategy has been modified to reflect changes in international politics and evolving threats while border security and ensuring terrorist sovereignty remain of paramount concern to the state. Turkey’s security concerns and threats can be broken down into these key areas:
- Domestic terrorism—including attacks from separatist organisations (Kurdish Workers Party; PKK), radical left wing groups (Revolutionary Peoples Liberation Front) and religious terrorist organisations such as Turkish Hezbollah
- International terrorism—encompassing attacks from international groups with a domestic component within Turkey and state espionage (Al Qaeda splinter groups emanating from Syria)
- Regional Security—looking primarily at its border relationship with Middle Eastern states such as Iraq, Syria and Iran and also its long running territorial dispute with Greece over rights to the Aegean Sea
- Increasing and maintaining ties with supranational bodies—the relationship the state has with both NATO and the UN is very important to its overall security and it hopes to increase both social and economic security through inclusion in the EU.
Although domestic terrorism has been the biggest threat to the state and its infrastructure, more recently the security emphasis has shifted to combating international terrorism. The reason for this shift can be linked not only to the ongoing violence in several Middle East states but more recently to the regional instability brought about by the Arab Spring in Syria. Infraction of Turkey’s border is made regularly by refugees trying to escape the civil war, and violence has spread to some southern areas of Turkey, especially those close to the Turkey-Syria border.
Turkish security concerns have also been influenced heavily by its ongoing bid to become an EU member. Turkey is emphasizing on the need to improve border control and to undertake effective border management for it to be included in EU free-movement agreements. Turkey’s mountainous terrain, long borders with destabilised nations and its importance as a gateway between Asia and Europe necessitates effective border management to ensure the safety of other EU member states. To address this security deficit the government has started to make investments in both technology and infrastructure at established border crossings, while also creating a specific Border Security Force to ensure that border control is maintained (under the command of the new Border Security General Directorate). However Turkey is still to fully comply with the Integrated Border Management (IBM) system used by all EU nations which ensures collaborative policing of borders in continental Europe.
Turkey’s economic expansion has seen its technological base expand with internet access and IT infrastructure being improved upon to meet business and social demands. Household internet access has been greatly increased with x % of households having access to the internet in 2010 compared to only x % of households in 2005. This growth in the state’s technological base has necessitated an increased focus on cybersecurity and especially the implementation of integrated security packages to protect IT users from electronic attacks. Plans to enhance the state’s cybersecurity capability have already been laid out by the government in its National Cyber Security Strategy: 2013-2014 Action Plan. The plan includes the inclusion of cybersecurity regulation to define the responsibilities of public organisations and agencies, to establish a National Cyber Incidents Response Organisation and to extend the responsibilities of national security organisations to address the threat posed by electronic attacks.
As Turkey continues to grow economically and become an increasingly pivotal actor in the area with closer relations with Western governments, the state’s security needs will continue to evolve and become more diverse. However, Turkey’s emerging domestic security market and relationships with several Western states means that it is well suited to meet incoming security demands head on.
Infrastructure Development Overview
Turkey’s economic prosperity is being driven by increased investment in the state’s infrastructure including improvements in roads, rail, technology, airports and its ever increasing role in the movement of oil and gas from Eastern to Western states. This high level of investment in national infrastructure is set to continue as laid out in the government’s core policy document for future growth, Vision 2023. The 2023 programme lists a number of goals the country is expected to achieve by 2023 (coinciding with the x th anniversary of the Republic’s establishment). Some of these goals include:
- To achieve a GDP of $ x trillion
- To increase exports to $ x billion
- To have a minimum of x operational nuclear power plants to meet energy demands
- To build x km of new railway track and to increase the provision of high-speed rail services
- To build x km of new roads
- To increase overall port capacity to meet export and import demands
- To increase Turkey’s tourism industry by supporting x million visitors so as to obtain a proposed $ x billion in tourism revenue
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