Murad Bayar, head of Turkey's defense procurement agency, says cyber warfare is increasingly becoming a 'military issue.' (SSM)
ANKARA — New technologies and solutions against cyber threats promise to become an emerging market in Turkey, according to officials and industry sources.
This year alone, Turkey has hosted about a dozen conferences on cybersecurity and new technologies. The most recent one held here Nov. 19-20 brought together 450 military officers, cyber experts, cyber defense officials and industry representatives from Turkey, the US, Britain, Germany, France, Canada, Italy, Finland, Hungary, Albania, Azerbaijan and South Korea.
The high-profile gathering discussed emerging threats and challenges on cyberwarfare, legal aspects, industrial perspective, new trends, new technologies and solutions.
“Cyber defense has become an indispensible part of our national defense,” Murad Bayar, Turkey’s procurement chief, told the conference. “This has become in line with [increased] government and private demand [for solutions] as technology constantly evolves.”
Bayar said cyberwarfare in Turkey was increasingly becoming a “military issue.” “Cyber threats are expanding asymmetrically, hence a need for network-centric strategy [to tackle these threats],” said Bayar, head of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM).
Also speaking at the conference, Col. Cengiz Ozteke, commander of the military General Staff’s division for electronic systems and cyber defense, said the Turkish military considers cybersecurity as the country’s “fifth force” — after land, air, sea and space.
“We set out to this new task after having viewed cyberattacks as a national security threat,” he said.
In recent years, Turkish security institutions increasingly have faced cyberattacks from local and foreign agents, officials often emphasize.
In June, the Turkish government launched the Center for Response to National Cyber Threats. Earlier, the Turkish military headquarters formed a Cyber Warfare Command.
“Threat means a need to counter it using new technologies. And that’s when markets shape up,” one US company official said.
An SSM official said that increasing cyber threats have paved the way for what, in the near future, could become a lucrative market for both local and foreign players.
“This is a challenge for a number of [state-owned] local companies and institutions,” he said. “Turkey will become a good buyer of advanced technologies to counter cyber threats of various sources.”
A local industry official dealing with electronic defense said his company is heavily investing in new technologies, personnel and research and development in order to match up with any future demand from the government.
“For the local firms, this is going to be a tech-based race,” he said. “Foreign players will be involved in know-how, but obviously solutions should be nationalized for best fight against cyber threats.”
The SSM official declined to predict the annual market for cyber-related solutions in the next five years, but industry sources expect “hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Major Turkish players are the government watchdog Information and Communication Technologies Authority (ICTA), the military General Staff, military electronics firm Aselsan, military software concern Havelsan and the state scientific research institution TUBITAK, all of which deal with cybersecurity solutions.
Most Turkish government agencies rely on foreign solutions, but the military and the national intelligence agency use local cybersecurity solutions mostly developed by Havelsan and TUBITAK, with the latter representing about 70 percent of all national crypto solutions.