Dr. Ali Bakir is a Research Assistant Professor at the Ibn Khaldon Center for Humanities and Social Sciences at Qatar University. He is also a senior consultant and an analyst who specializes in geopolitical and security trends in the Middle East with a particular focus on Turkey’s foreign and defense policies, Turkey-Arab relations, foreign policies of GCC countries and Iran, great power politics, small states’ behavior, and emerging unconventional risks and threats. Dr. Bakir has over a decade of experience as a consultant – working with senior officials, decision makers, and other stakeholders for governmental, non-governmental, and private sector institutions across the region.
As Turkey focuses on hard power, it is working to become less dependent on outside sources of weapons and materiel. Although Ankara is beefing up its military capabilities, it will not depend solely on hard power to achieve its goals.
Until recently, Turkey has relied on trade and diplomacy, as well as its key geographic location between Europe and the Middle East, to project power. But amid a decade of volatility brought on by the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, Ankara has shifted to a hard-power approach to secure itself from threats in and achieve its aspirations of becoming a regional power.
Turkey’s defense industry has grown significantly in the past decade, a result of aggressive government policies aimed toward decreasing arms imports and raising the country’s status as an international player. The massive economic and political investment into the Turkish defense sector has come with several challenges, including the current COVID-19 pandemic.