The arrest of former Turkish Chief of Staff Ilker Basbug as part of an ongoing investigation into anti-government plotting within the military has come as a shock to many within Turkey. He will face trial in a civil court, which was unthinkable even a decade ago.
Turkey’s military in the past has been omnipresent force in the nation’s politics, having successfully concluded three coups and forced an Islamist prime minister to quit in 1997. It helped shape the country’s current constitution and its secular system. However, since the rise of the AK Party and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the power of the military has been sharply reduced.
Meanwhile, the Turkish military has never been busier. As well as NATO commitments overseas, Turkey has also battled Kurdish PKK insurgents on its Iraqi border and has made several incursions into Iraqi Kurdistan as it has sought to destroy PKK groups. It also faces a possible humanitarian catastrophe on its doorstep in the event Syria descends into civil war.
Gripen, Rafale & Typhoon
As one fighter contest in Japan closes, another opens in Malaysia. Once again Europe’s premier fighters — the Saab Gripen, the Dassault Rafale and the Eurofighter Typhoon — are in a race to replace the RMAF’s 10 MIG-29N aircraft.
This comes at a tough time for Europe’s aerospace industry, which has performed poorly in most of Asia so far. losing out to American or Russian systems. Here again, the Boeing F/A-18 and Sukhoi Su-35 are in the running.
One part of Asia where European industry is doing very well is India. New Delhi has just inked a $1.2-billion deal with MBDA to buy 500 air-to-air missiles. The deal is part of an existing arrangement to upgrade India’s 51 Mirage 2000 aircraft. Later this year India will decide whether to buy the Dassault Rafale or the Eurofighter Typhoon as its next generation fighter.
The spending spree comes at a time of rising tensions not only between India and its old enemy Pakistan, but also with China.
U.K. & Australia
Facing redundancy as part of the Ministry of Defense’s cuts but still want a navy job? The Australian Department of Defense wants you to help bring its own navy up to speed.
Australia is expanding to face challenges in the Far East, but is finding it hard to recruit within its own borders as competition in the private sector is fierce. It was revealed that in 2010, two-thirds of the navy was unable to operate at full capacity due to manpower shortages. There are also significant safety concerns with its fleet of Collins-class submarines due to a lack of engineering expertise and submariner skills, which ex-Royal Navy sailors could certainly provide.
Potential recruits will be offered fast-track Australian citizenship.