CDA Institute Blog: The Forum

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Categories
    Categories Displays a list of categories from this blog.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Team Blogs
    Team Blogs Find your favorite team blogs here.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Turkey’s Aspirations for Long Range Missiles

  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Print

Debalina Ghoshal is a Research Fellow with the Centre for Human Security Studies, Hyderabad, India.

In February 2017, Jane’s revealed that Turkey’s state owned weapons manufacturing company, Roketsan, was developing long range Bora ballistic missiles. To all but the closest Turkey-​watcher, this seems odd given that Turkey currently possesses only short range ballistic missiles (SRBMs), such as the MGM140A Army Tactical Missiles (ATACMs) (range of 165kms), the J-​600T Yildirim I and II (range of 150 and 300kms range respectively). However, in 2011, the Turkish state scientific research institute, the Tubitak stated that Turkey would develop missiles with ranges of 800kms, 1500kms and 2500kms.

In the past, missiles with such ranges, 2500kms especially, did not seem necessary given Turkey’s geostrategic situation, even when you account for the fact that Turkey’s threats are not just confined to states in the region, but also non-​state actors such as Daesh. A Turkish missile with the range of 1000-​1500kms can target Damascus, Tehran, Tel Aviv and Cairo as well as all of Daesh’s territory, to name a few.

Turkey’s neighborhood comprises many states with which the country does not share very cordial relations. These include Israel, Syria and Iran to name a few. Israel’s long range ballistic missiles like the Jericho category missiles are also capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Syria on the other hand, possesses the liquid-​fuelled Scud category missiles while Iran is progressing with its Shahab and the Sejjil ballistic missiles, as well as its nuclear-​capable cruise missile program such as the Soumar. The Iranian developments are particularly relevant as veteran journalist, Burak Bekdil points out, Turkey’s missile program matured during the Turco-​Persian rivalry starting in 2011.

In addition, both Israel and Iran possess solid-​fuel propelled missiles – easier to prepare, not requiring much launch time and therefore less susceptible to enemy surveillance and detection – which increases their survivability.

Underpinning these developments is the fact that Turkey’s current leadership appears to want to project the power of a regional hegemon. Ballistic missiles are weapons that enhance a country’s power and prestige and this would be complemented by an in development Turkish air defence system. It is worth noting that Turkey is also a host to the US European Phase Adaptive Approach (EPAA). The EPAA is an initiative of the United States to field missile defence system in NATO countries like Romania and Poland along with missile defence radar in Turkey.

While it’s unclear as to whether Turkey’s indigenous missile defence system will be integrated with the NATO missile defence system, missile defence alone cannot achieve regional dominance. Turkey appears to have figured that out. This is proved when in 2016 Turkey’s procurement official, Ismail Demir, expressed its concern that it is “difficult for a country to be deterrent with defensive missiles only.”

That said, NATO in 2016 itself was not happy when Turkey decided to develop long range ballistic missiles. A NATO ambassador had expressed concern in 2016 that “Turkey is a part of security umbrella (of the NATO under Article V of the Washington Treaty). We are not sure if any Turkish effort for offensive missiles makes strategic sense.” There is little doubt that NATO countries would be concerned with Turkey’s continued development of offensive missile systems.

However, for Turkey, post the failed coup, its faith in NATO (especially the US) has diminished. Given this change, it will be interesting to see how Turkey manages to maintain peace with NATO as it develops regional and strategic capabilities. On the other hand, it would also be interesting to see how NATO, especially the United States handles the issue of Turkey’s long range missile systems, especially at a time when Turkey’s relations with Russia are warming.

Debalina Ghoshal is a Research Fellow with the Centre for Human Security Studies, Hyderabad, India.

Image by TebNad

in Analysis Hits: 322 0 Comments


  • No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest Wednesday, 29 March 2017
Home | Blog: The Forum | Turkey’s Aspirations for Long Range Missiles

Support Us

The CDA Institute is seeking donors and corporate sponsors for Fiscal Year 2016/​2017 to support its research activities, events and publications, which are disseminated amongst various audiences. Read More

CDA Institute

Created in 1987, the CDA Institute is a charitable and non-​partisan research organization whose mandate is to promote informed public debate on national security and defence issues and the vital role played by the Canadian Armed Forces in our society.

Contact Us

Conference of Defence Associations/​
CDA Institute
151 Slater Street, Suite 412A
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5H3

Telephone: +1 (613) 2369903