Turkey Building New Ottoman Empire With Arms Sales
Turkey’s military exports are expected to nearly double this year over 2021 to $4 billion from $2.3 billion. While Turkey is not among the world’s leading exporters of military equipment, the way the nation uses its arms industry has an outsized diplomatic impact.
“Arms deals are now one of Mr. Erdoğan’s foreign-policy tools of choice, as he uses sales of drones and other weapons to build relationships and further his aspirations of global Turkish influence.”
—Wall Street Journal
Economic boon: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has become an economic boon for Turkey. From the start of Russia’s war, Ukraine ramped up defense contracts with Turkey.
- Ukraine purchased tens of thousands of sets of body armor from Turkish manufacturers shortly after Russia invaded.
- Kyiv has also bought dozens of Turkey’s renowned Bayraktar TB-2 surveillance and combat drones.
On display: Ukraine has also showcased the effectiveness of Turkey’s military equipment, especially Turkey’s Bayraktar TB-2s. Using these drones, Ukraine has destroyed significant numbers of Russian tanks, antiaircraft systems and resupply convoys, and it has sunk Russian warships in the Black Sea.
Supplying Africa: Turkey’s TB-2 drones are also in high demand in Africa. Demand for Turkey’s signature military export is so high, there is a three-year waiting list for it. The keys to the drone’s popularity:
- It’s far cheaper than the U.S. alternative.
- It’s easier to operate.
- It is battle-proven in Ukraine, Libya, Syria and Azerbaijan’s conflict with Armenia.
- It doesn’t come with the diplomatic baggage typically attached to U.S. military exports.
“In Africa, wherever we went, they asked us for unarmed and armed drones.”
—Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s strongman, after a trip to Africa in 2021
This year, Turkey’s military exports to Africa multiplied fivefold, going from nearly $83 million to over $460 million. Besides drones, Turkey sells large quantities of armored vehicles, weapons and other equipment to Africa. Using these military exports to Africa to get its foot in the door, Turkey has signed military cooperation agreements of varying scope with the majority of African nations.
Prophecy says: Continue to watch Turkey as it seeks to become the dominant regional power in the Middle East and Africa. Bible prophecy shows that it is destined to fail as Iran rises to take the mantel of the prophesied “king of the south.” Expect the rise of Iran and radical Islam to push Turkey into greater cooperation with Europe as Erdoğan seeks to build a new Ottoman Empire. Learn more about Turkey’s future in “Pivotal Power.”