Why Turkey’s Military Footprint is Expanding

Turkey’s Military Footprint

Turkey’s military reach is quietly expanding. Since 2011, the Turkish armed forces have shifted their strategy from a domestic defensive military, into an expeditionary one, with troops now permanently stationed in six different countries. They’ve been engaged in combat on their borders in Syria and Iraq as well as thousands of kilometers away in Africa. And that number only has signs of increasing. With 1 million active and combined paramilitary personnel The Turkish Armed Forces is actually the second largest standing military force in all of NATO, right after the U.S. military.

It’s not just boots on the ground they also conduct maritime security operations in the Mediterranean, Aegean Sea, and off the Coast of Somalia in anti-piracy operations. Some publications and international relations experts have even claimed Turkey is seeking to recreate the old Ottoman Empire borders once again. I didn’t say it they did, that’s why we’re going to interrogate that claim today. Why is Turkey expanding their military footprint now and how far do these actions extend? In what way do they support or conflict with some of NATO’s stated goals?

Written by: Chris Cappy and Justin Taylor
Edited by: Michael Michaelides

A good way to understand Turkey’s actions is to look at their geography. They are located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Their nation serves as a bridge between the East and the West, connecting Islamic and Christian regions but on the other hand it also puts them in a potentially vulnerable security situation. Because Turkey is situated right in the middle of many of the wars raging today including, Syria, Armenia Azerbaijan, the war in Ukraine rages just across the black sea, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are all just a few hundred kilometers from their border. How they choose to react to this reality is going to come under close scrutiny.

Turkey is built on a military legacy stretching back over 600 hundreds of years through the Ottoman empire. In 1680 AD it spanned three continents, ruled the Islamic world and large sections of Europe. Their borders extended all the way from Kyiv in the north down to Yemen in the south. The council on foreign relations put it this way “Turkey was Founded in 1923 from the remains of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey pursued a secular, Western-aligned foreign policy by joining NATO and seeking closer ties with the EU.”

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Credit to : Task & Purpose

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