Introduction: Turkey’s Military Capacity in a Geopolitical Context
The intersection of Turkey’s geography and political-military affairs has never been easy for the Turks to navigate. Turkey remains a NATO nation bordering, Iran, Iraq, Syria, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea, and the Caucasus. A few decades ago, Turkish governments had to deal with Hafez al-Assad of Syria and Saddam al-Hussein of Iraq as neighbors. Many flashpoints, ranging from the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict to the hydrocarbon bonanza in the Eastern Mediterranean to the Syrian civil war revolve around Ankara’s immediate doorstep. Geopolitically, this unfavorable positioning situates the nation at a crossroads of various armed conflicts, either happening or in the making. The country also faces various hybrid risks ranging from the Salafi extremist terrorist networks of ISIS and al-Qaeda to the ethno-separatist terrorism championed by the PKK and its PYD/YPG offshoots. Thus, the Turkish military has to ensure a high level of readiness to tackle national security threats across a broad spectrum.