President of the Republic Abdullah Gül expressed his views on Defense Reform in his speech at the War Academies Command on April 5, 2012 and emphasized that the current geostrategic order requires us to reshape our security needs and our responses to them; he had listed the steps to be taken for a comprehensive reform such as increasing the capability of the three forces to perform joint operations, giving importance to integration in the command structure, eliminating duplicate levels at all levels, and increasing the number of combat personnel...
President Gül stated that, with the effect of globalization, every issue and every development in the world are connected to each other, and that the effects of developments with political, security and economic content are felt directly or indirectly in different parts of the world beyond their starting points. In this context, he pointed out that the definition of "the far corner of the world" has begun to disappear from thoughts and dictionaries. "It has become imperative to consider a wide range of issues on a global scale, from asymmetric threats to organized crime and uninhibited ethnic tensions, from capital movements to competition over energy resources and increasing injustice in global income distribution, from climate change to poverty, food security and epidemics."
He stated that all these developments necessitate rethinking and formulating the concepts of security, diplomacy and power.In such a fast and transitional world, it is no longer possible to provide security with traditional power elements”. Gül pointed out that the Prussian General Clausewitz's statement that "war is the continuation of politics by other means" should perhaps be reinterpreted today.
With this understanding, President Gül ordered in April 2013 to establish a "Working Group" to prepare a comprehensive report on defense reform.
The Presidency of this Working Group, which operates under the Presidency, was undertaken by Prof. Dr. Ali Karaosmanoğlu. Other members were Ambassador Tahsin Burcuoğlu, former Secretary General of the National Security Council, Dr. Faruk Özlü, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Industry, Brigadier General Murat Yetgin, Dean of the Military Academy, Air Pilot Brigadier General Recep Ünal, Head of the Training Department of the Air Force Command, and Retired Rear Admiral Doğan Bozkurt.
The main headings in the Defense Reform Report  prepared by the Working Group are as follows;
- Political-Military Transformation after the Cold War
- Duties of Turkish Armed Forces and Necessary Capabilities
- Defense Management
- Defense System Procurement and Logistics
- Compulsory and Professional Military Service
- Education and Training in Military Schools
- Resource Allocation for Defense Expenditures
- Control of Defense Expenditures
The Implementation Plan was created as follows;
In the report, within the scope of defense reform; Suggestions about “what” should be done were tried to be put forward. It is recommended to establish a "high-level executive committee" and the following "working groups" in order to make political decisions and make legal arrangements on "how" the reform will be carried out:
- Military Capabilities and Force Structure Working Group,
Defense Management Working Group,
Defense System Procurement and Logistics Working Group,
Military Recruitment System Working Group,
Education and Training in Military Schools Working Group,
Resource Allocation and Control Working Group.
When the report is examined, it is seen that the technological reform studies, in which the reform covers more of the structural area, are trying to mature with the studies carried out within the Undersecretariat of Defense Industry. As an example, in 2008, "The Points and Targets of the Turkish Land Defense Sector, Industry Day and Military Land Vehicles Power Systems Workshop" was held by the Undersecretariat of Defense Industry.
In the Preface to the Report, Mr. President Gül states that "the success of such a comprehensive reform depends on the ownership of the process by the political authority, the armed forces and the society".
It is also stated in the report that "it will take time to eliminate problems such as the lack of civilian capacity for the conditions leading to a successful reform to mature", but it is not evaluated how open the Ministry of National Defense and Turkish Armed Forces are to the contribution of civilian capacity.
One of the biggest deficiencies in our country is that the Defense Industry is seen as solely composed of weapon systems, ammunition, support systems and logistics services, R&D and engineering services. However, Training and Consultancy services should definitely take place in the service industry of the defense industry. SADAT International Defense Consultancy Inc., the first and only defense consultancy company in Turkey, was established at the beginning of 2012 and has produced dozens of projects for the training and consultancy needs of the armed forces and security services of friendly and allied countries in a two-year period.
SADAT Inc.'s mission is to provide services in the fields of organization of Armed Forces and Internal Security Forces internationally, strategic consultancy in the field of internal security and defense, internal security and military training and equipment, to create an environment of defense and defense industry cooperation between Islamic Countries and to help the Islamic World take its rightful place among the Super Powers as a self-sufficient military force.
Since its establishment, the company has applied for a Facility Private Security Certificate to the Ministry of National Defense, and the application was returned after months of evaluation on the grounds that the service industry was not covered by the Ministry of National Defense legislation. In November 2012, the work on amending the laws No. 5201 and 5202 for the inclusion of Education and Consultancy Services in the legislation was also prepared by SADAT Inc. and sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister for the addition of the Ministry of National Defense legislation, but the response received was that the training and consultancy activities were not covered by the relevant legislation. The response to the application to be included in the legislation is astonishing.
The structural reform, which will cover the Ministry of National Defense and the Turkish Armed Forces, cannot be claimed to be complete unless it involves all areas of activity in the defense sector. Unless the companies that produce services, as well as companies that produce many products, large and small, operating in the defense industry are not included in the legislation, the legal gap that will occur will have the potential to cause serious problems in the international arena. Policies guiding the defense field should be proactive rather than reactive. More than 70 defense consultancy companies based in Europe and the USA operate in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and there is still no legislation regulating the defense service sector in the EU. Turkey should not wait for the EU to create the relevant legislation, but should urgently establish the necessary legislation for issues such as auditing the activities of companies providing Defense and Internal Security Training and Consultancy Services and evaluating permission requests.
As an example in the report;
The number of guest military personnel who want to get military training in Turkey is increasing every year. When compared to 2011-2012, the quotas allocated to guest military personnel in Turkish Armed Forces institutions increase almost threefold according to the plans for 2015-2016.
However, it is ignored that although the quota has increased threefold, it remains well below the demand. It should not be overlooked that by establishing legal legislation, it is necessary to pave the way for training institutions other than the Turkish Armed Forces to provide defense and internal security training. Sadat Inc.'s requests for permission and supervision of trainings were not accepted on the grounds that military training in Turkey can only be given by Turkish Armed Forces as required by the legislation, and the relevant authorities advised SADAT Inc. to provide the trainings in other countries that request the trainings.
Although the necessity and importance of Defense Reform is acknowledged by all segments of society, the concern that its scope is limited and that it is insufficient to meet the needs in the international conjuncture that is constantly evolving and changing the concept continues to hold its place.
2, President of the Republic Gül lectured a conference at the Military Academies, http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/gundem/20281964.asp (August 22, 2014)
3, Defense Reform Report, http://www.tccb.gov.tr/dosyalar/2014-08-22-SavunmaReformu.pdf (August 22, 2014)
4, The Points and Targets of the Turkish Land Defense Sector, Industry Day and Military Land Vehicles Power Systems Workshop (June16-17, 2008), http://www.ssm.gov.tr/anasayfa/hizli/duyurular/etkinlikler/konferanslar/arsiv/2008/Sayfalar/tkssunhegakags20080617.aspx (August 22, 2014)
5, Our Mission, https://www.sadat.com.tr/en/about-us/our-mission.html (August 22, 2014)