The Executive Committee (EC) of the Defense Industry, the highest decision-making body on arms procurement in Turkey, held its first meeting of 2015 last week under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Ambitious and costly projects approved were trumpeted as further steps toward “new Turkey.”

In the old days, news of EC meetings did not really interest the man in the street. But in recent years the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s frequent references to defense industry projects in its political discourse and boasting of grand successes achieved worthy of a global power in the making have made them newsworthy. Inauguration ceremonies for new projects that are public relations spectacles that the Turkish people enjoy are now a reality of that “new Turkey.”

This also explains why Davutoglu reserved most of his Jan. 13 parliamentary speech to the EC meeting. This is how he explained the EC decisions: “The defense industry is henceforth national and will remain national. It will be the basis of our national destiny. In old times, never mind Turkey even dreaming of making its own tanks and its own planes; we used plead for donations to buy the weapons other countries discarded. For tank modernization we needed Israel. Now we have a Turkey that won’t bow to others with its own national defense industry. This is the new Turkey.” […]