28.04.2024

Important Notice from Yanki Bağcıoğlu: ‘Attention to Critical Arms Exports, Our National Security is More Important than Everything’

CHP Deputy Chairperson Yankı Bağcıoğlu said: ‘The fact that we are in dire need of foreign currency due to the economic crisis should not lead to the relaxation or disregard of the rules applied to the export of critical weapons and defence systems. Our national security is more important than anything else.’

CHP Deputy Chairperson in charge of the Ministry of National Defence, retired Rear Admiral Yankı Bağcıoğlu made a written statement on arms exports. Bağcıoğlu's statement is as follows:

‘The recent conflicts in our region and in the Red Sea have once again demonstrated the importance of our air defence systems. Thanks to developing technologies, new threat elements such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and drones have changed the dynamics of battlefields with their low cost and effectiveness. It is vital to develop effective defence mechanisms against them. We have witnessed the coordinated or independent use of UAVs and drones in conflicts in the region. These capabilities of hostile states and non-state groups require our air defence systems to be in constant mission readiness. The Iran-Israel tension, the Russia-Ukraine war and the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea all hold lessons to be learnt from the changing threat environment. Based on these experiences, we should strengthen our air defence systems and prioritise new measures. A strong air defence system and a deterrent posture will provide deterrence against potential aggressors.

‘“FREE FIRE DRILL” SHOULD BE ORGANISED AND THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE SYSTEMS SHOULD BE DEMONSTRATED’

The Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) are trying to increase their deterrence by conducting exercises and trainings with the principle of 'inspiring confidence in friends and fear in enemies'. However, given the tensions in the region, routine activities may not be sufficient. For this reason, a comprehensive 'Free Fire Exercise' should be organised with the participation of our new national air defence systems and S-400s, and the effectiveness of these systems should be demonstrated to the press and the public. On the other hand, care should be taken in the export of critical weapons and defence systems. The experience in the Germany-Israel-Iran triangle has shown that if sensitivity is not shown in this regard, threats to our national security may arise. To illustrate with an example; the DAR project, which was jointly developed by Germany and Israel in the 1980s, was later transformed into the HARPY system produced by the Israeli IAI company after the German DORNIER company withdrew from the project in the following years, and later into the SAHID 136 loitering ammunition produced by Iran through reverse engineering. These munitions were also used in the recent attacks against Israel, thus a weapon system was used in the field by its adversary against the original producer country after a while.

‘THE NEED FOR FOREIGN CURRENCY SHOULD NOT LEAD TO A RELAXATION OF RULES ON CRITICAL ARMS EXPORTS. OUR NATIONAL SECURITY IS PARAMOUNT’

In other words, the fact that we are in dire need of foreign currency due to the economic crisis should not lead to any relaxation or disregard of the rules applicable to the export of critical weapons and defence systems. Our national security is paramount. Furthermore, the export of dual-purpose national products for military and civilian use should be subject to rules similar to the strict control mechanisms applied to defence industry products. If such products fall into the hands of hostile countries or groups, serious threats may arise. Therefore, neither economic conditions nor other reasons should be an excuse for compromising the existing strict rules on the safe export of critical weapons and systems. We must prioritise our national interests and security above all else. Utmost care and attention should be paid in export procedures, and we should not be complacent in any way.

‘ADVANCED AIR DEFENCE SYSTEMS SHOULD BE STRENGTHENED’

A multi-faceted approach should be adopted to protect against the UAV/Drones threat; advanced air defence systems, electronic warfare, cyber security, intelligence and reconnaissance capabilities should be strengthened. National projects such as the 'Laser Air Defence System' developed by TÜBİTAK BİLGEM can provide effective solutions against this threat. In conclusion, in light of the lessons we have learned from the conflicts in our region, we should continuously improve our air defence systems, focus on the production of indigenous systems, increase our deterrence capability and attach importance to international cooperation. Thanks to its investments in the defence industry, Turkey's contribution to regional security and progress towards becoming a regional power continues.’


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