Image by Ex13, via Wikimedia Commons.  Accessed 21.02.18


In January, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited the Hatay military headquarters from where the latest Turkish operation in Syria, “Olive Branch”, was being directed. The Turkish media presented images of Erdogan dressed in a military coat supervising the military operations, portraying him as the main operational commander.

Of the most recent military operations the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) has carried out on Syrian soil, this last operation targeting Afrin sent a clear message to the Turkish public of who their commander-in-chief is. Behind this media (and social media) spectacle, the government has passed a decree law under the state of emergency that ultimately empowers President Erdoğan in the defence sector.

As predicted by Shadow Governance in the report entitled, “The Turkish Defence Industry” (25.7.2017, available in the Report Store), President Erdoğan and his political party, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), are steadily securing key positions in the defence sector. This, in part, is being accomplished by modifying laws and the structure of the country’s main defence bodies, placing the AKP at the core of defence decision-making.