Foreign Policy Blogs

Turkey to produce ICBMs

Turkish SOM cruise missile prototype, announced in November 2011 London Exel Fair.
(Çeşitli Ajanslar)

Acting on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s directives for the production of long-range missile with 2500km (1553 miles) range, Turkey’s Defense Industry Executive Committee has formally announced its decision to commence design and production work for an ICBM.

According to Turkish NTV and Zaman news agencies, sources in the Ministry of Defense have indicated that industry agencies had been discussing the feasibility of establishing a satellite launch center in Turkey for some time, and production of an ICBM is, therefore, considered to be the next step from after that main goal. The main players in this project are the Ministry of Defense, the Undersecretariat of Defense Industries, and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK).

The first phase of the project was completed with production and successful recent test of a 300km (186 miles) range SOM cruise missile. The second phase will extend the range of SOM to 1500km and later phases will extend it to 2500km.

However, a quote from a senior official from the Ministry of Defense showed that the real intention of this project is military: “The Defence Industry Executive Committee has decided to initiate the satellite launch center project on July 17. This project aims to provide Turkey with the capability to launch its own satellites. However the real intention is different. Once you can launch a satellite into space, you are close to producing an ICBM. First, we will aim to achieve successful satellite launching capability and then work on the process, which begins after.”

It is also reported that Turkey may work with “an Eastern European country” on this project.

 

Author

Akin Unver
Akin Unver

Dr. Ünver is an assistant professor of international relations at Kadir Has University, Istanbul.

Previously he was the Ertegün Lecturer of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, Near Eastern Studies department - the only academic to retain this prestigious fellowship for two consecutive years. He conducted his joint post-doctoral studies at the University of Michigan’s Center for European Studies and the Center for the Middle East and North African Studies, where he authored several articles on Turkish politics, most notable of which is ”Turkey’s deep-state and the Ergenekon conundrum”, published by the Middle East Institute.

Born and raised in Ankara, Turkey, he graduated from T.E.D. Ankara College in 1999 and earned his B.A. in International Relations from Bilkent University (2003) and MSc in European Studies from the Middle East Technical University (2005). He received his PhD from the Department of Government, University of Essex, where his dissertation, ‘A comparative analysis of the discourses on the Kurdish question in the European Parliament, US Congress and Turkish National Assembly‘ has won the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) 2010 Malcolm H. Kerr Dissertation Award in Social Sciences.

Akın also assumed entry-level policy positions at the European Union Secretariat-General, Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Eurasian Center for Strategic Studies (ASAM) and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (D.C.), as well as teaching positions at the University of Essex (Theories of International Relations) and Sabancı University (Turkey and the Middle East).



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