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Turkey's defense industry sees rise of 'the president’s men'

Decision-making power in Turkey's defense industry is shifting from the military to businessmen close to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The authoritarian normalization that continues to mark relations between Turkey’s political and military echelons since the 2016 failed coup is now affecting the policymaking process in the country's defense industry. The industry is the new favorite of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as the bruising financial crisis heavily hit his former favorite sector, construction.

Four major reasons are behind Erdogan's piqued interest in the defense industry: First, Erdogan's popular support drastically increased after Turkey’s Oct. 9 incursion into Syria, known as Operation Peace Spring. Second, the defense industry is a good tool for producing success stories to divert public attention at a time of economic crisis. Third, success in the defense realm offers political gains in foreign policy. And finally, it creates profitable export opportunities to several countries including Qatar, Pakistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and some African nations.

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