Unmanned Tanks: Observing the Different Path Turkey Takes to Develop Military Technology


The focus of the international community at the moment lies on developing vehicles and ships that are unmanned. All the work and scientific advancement are dedicated toward coming up with a design for such vehicles that are truly working. However, amidst (and amid the Olive Branch military operation in Afrin, Syria) brewing competitions among countries in the world, Turkey turns many a head by directing their efforts toward something that is more serious. Instead of developing vehicles and ships, President Tayyip Erdogan confirmed that Turkish defense industry is at the moment developing unmanned tanks.

Erdogan mentioned that the unmanned tanks are a result of a thinking process in regard to the effectiveness of manufacturing and deploying drones. He argued that each and every one of the drones that are shot down in Afrin would become a source of the problem in the future. Replacing each one of them with a new one would be too much of work. This is the reason behind the idea of manufacturing unmanned tanks. Erdogan has criticized Western countries over and over again as they refuse to supply Turkey with modern weapon systems. One of the countries Erdogan heavily criticizes is Germany.

Germany reportedly halted the supplies of Leopard tanks to Turkey, something that many took as being linked to the Olive Branch, and ongoing military operation. This move was thought to have been taken by Germany as a way to appease sentiments within the country itself. The German public grew uncomfortable with the use of the images of Leopard tanks by the Turkish military in Syria. The German government thought that halting the supply of tanks to Ankara would calm its people. In light of this halt, there are no choices for Turkey other than to come up with a technological advancement to take matters into their hand, thus the idea of producing unmanned tanks was born.

The Olive Branch operation was constructed as a response to the plans the US has, which involves training more than 30.000 forces near the southern borders of Syria. This training allegedly will focus on Kurdish militants, all of which are thought to be terrorists by Turkey. The plan was condemned by Erdogan, who, in response, vowed to squash the terrorist army—something the US is thought to have designed. The planned unmanned tanks are, in Erdogan’s eyes, the most effective counter to the possible emergence of such a terrorist army.