CFPPR Projects

National Defence Industry: From an Enabler of Turkey’s Pursuit of Strategic Autonomy to a Bridge between Turkey and Europe

As a recipient of the CATS Network Grant our Center is working together with the International Institute for Strategic Studies on a collaborative project researching the prospects for cooperation and competition between the European and Turkish defence industries, and their impact on the foreign and security policies of states.

Project Description

This project will explore prospects for cooperation and competition between the European and Turkish defence industries, and the impact of defence industry relations on the foreign policies of Turkey, the European Union (EU), and selected non-EU European countries. Such examination is important because cooperation in the defence realm is conventionally believed to generate positive externalities in other areas of politics. Hence, closer defence industrial cooperation in this regard between Turkey and Europe, while important for the defence of Europe, including from a NATO perspective, may also help relevant parties to rebuild confidence in each other.

Although Turkish-European defence industrial cooperation has produced mixed results so far, looking ahead, there are several factors that may tilt the scales in favour of more positive collaboration. These include increased European defence spending following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a desire on the part of Turkey to improve the sustainability of its defence industry sustainability by joining European projects, an attempt by both parties (Turkey and Europe) to improve relations through defence programmes, and concerns about the extent to which relations between Turkey and Russia can be sustained.

With that in mind, this project seeks to answer the following questions. First, how does the Russo-Ukrainian War alter the strategic calculations in Europe? Second, what are the impacts of the war on European defence industrial policies? Third, how has European defence industrial cooperation changed over the years through institutions such as IEPG, WEU, OCCAR, EDA, and PESCO? Fourth, what were the main drivers of such changes? Fifth, how has Turkey contributed to and acted (or failed to act) as a stakeholder in European defence cooperation in the past? Sixth, how can the Turkish defence industry contribute to European security? Seventh, is Turkey’s goal of self-sufficiency achievable, and if not, what changes would foreseeably be made to Turkish defence industry policy in the future? Eighth, what are the expectations of Turkish defence companies with respect to Turkish foreign policy? Ninth, what is the perception of the Turkish defence industry with regard to Turkey’s foreign relations with the EU, Russia, and the U.S.? Tenth, does Turkey have a military-industrial complex in place with sufficient clout to influence policymaking? And finally, what do European defence companies expect from their respective countries and the EU in relation to Turkey?

Project Members:

Çağlar Kurç, Research Fellow, CFPPR; Assistant Professor, Abdullah Gul University
Bastian Giegerich, the Director of the Defence and Military Analysis Programme, IISS
Tom Waldwyn, Research Associate for Defence Procurement, IISS
Fenella McGerty, Senior Fellow for Defence Economics, IISS
Haena Jo, Research Analyst for Defence and Military Analysis, IISS
James Hackett, Senior Fellow for Defence and Military Analysis, IISS
Arda Mevlütoğlu, Board Member, Institute for Future Research (IFR)
Sıtkı Egeli, Associate Professor of International Relations, Izmir University of Economics
Serhat Güvenç, Professor of International Relations, Kadir Has University

Project Duration: Sep 23 – Nov 24


Çağlar Kurç, email:
Tom Waldwyn, email: