Ankara, Turkey – Growing reliance on an internal industrial base, as well as support from Russia, has Turkey moving along its own path. For 2020, Turkey military strength is ranked second in NATO countries after US. NATO and Russia are flexing their military might right next to each other. Turkey is second in military presence abroad in the world after US! The number will rise to 15 with Azerbaijan.
Straddling two continents from Asia to Europe, Turkey has one of the most powerful armed forces in Europe or Asia. Over four hundred thousand strong, Turkey’s armed forces are divided into the Army, Air Force, and Navy. The Turkish Air Force is one of the strongest in the region, consisting of nearly 300 F-16 Fighting Falcons with AESA radar integration, and a naval force with more than a dozen submarines and a marine infantry brigade.
In 2020, the United States had the largest number of military personnel out of all North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries, with 1.35 million troops. The country with the second largest number of military personnel was Turkey, with just over 437,000 personnel.
Turkey’s role as a regional and global player and its power capacity: Turkey’s engagement with other emerging states.
Turkey’s role as a regional power has increased; not only aspired to become a regional power but also a global player. Turkey has, therefore, assumed different roles: the “natural leader” of the region; and the “protector” of the oppressed nations and Muslim minorities.
Turkey is a real regional power and a global actor – which requires the successful juggling of both hard and soft power. Turkey increased its capacity and autonomy remarkably over the course of past decade, a year that provided ample opportunities for Turkey to consolidate its position within today’s relatively chaotic international system.
Turkey has also assumed a “mediator” and a “facilitator” role by trying to negotiate a deal with an emerging power such as Brazil in order to attempt to resolve the controversial Iranian nuclear issue.
By making use of recent developments, Turkey tried to solidify its long desired role as a “rising power” by increasing its influence in its neighborhood and engaging with other emerging powers.
The concept “regional power” is a context-based notion. In other words, the location and geography are contesting and disputed approaches. Notwithstanding the fact that concepts such as “region” and “power” are social constructed reality, the notion of ‘regional power’ as a subcategory of ‘power’.
In this context, Turkey’s power capacity in the region has been solidified after Azerbaijan, Libya and Syria conflicts. The “regional power” needs to have a “role definition,” and it should possess material power (hard power). It should also have economic as well as diplomatic and organizational capacity. Its power whether it is ‘soft power’ (attraction of ones idea’s and or the ability to set the political agenda in a way that shapes the preferences of other actors) or ‘hard power’ (material power that can be measured-economic and military power) needs to be acknowledged by other actors in the region.
It should also be accepted by great powers and emerging powers that are determinant in the international system. Additionally, the regional power (and/ or global power) needs to have leverage, thus its power projection needs to yield results. The role theory is used as theoretical framework to analyze foreign policy behavior of Turkey. The Global Power Turkey doctrine will, thus, seek to find out Turkey’s roles.