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Turkey on Lookout for Anti-Terror Systems

February 28, 2016 (Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images)

ANKARA, Turkey — Hit by three major terror attacks since last October, Turkey’s top security officials are moving to build a better homeland security system designed to preemptively strike potential terrorists. 
 
After a five-hour meeting with senior security officials, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu announced Feb. 20 that a new security approach and mechanism, especially for the capital, Ankara, would be devised. 
 
“Every province has special [security] needs,” he said, but added that Ankara has a special position because it is the capital and hosts many government, state and party buildings, along with several diplomatic missions. 
 
Last October, radical Islamist suicide bombers killed more than 100 pro-peace activists in the heart of Ankara. In January another jihadist suicide bomber killed 10 German tourists in Istanbul. 
 
And a pro-Kurdish suicide bomber on Feb. 17 killed nearly 30 people, including military personnel, when he detonated a bomb near military personnel buses in Ankara. 
 
Davutoglu said that he tasked the Interior Ministry with developing a new security concept. The plan will cover all of Turkey’s 81 provinces, he said. 
 
Davutoglu said that advanced technology would be extensively used to build a shield against terror attacks. 
 
“Civil servants will be in official uniforms. ... Electronic devices will be used more,” Interior Minister Efkan Ala said Feb. 21.
 
Procurement officials said that every advanced anti-terror system would be examined for potential acquisition. 
 
“We have a huge list and a wide range of equipment, both software and hardware, to consider,” he said. 
 
An Interior Ministry official urged companies to propose solutions without waiting for the government to announce the systems it plans to purchase. 
 
“Local and international companies should contact us if they think they can propose technologically proven systems to combat various asymmetrical threats we are facing today,” he said. 
 
A security expert said that Turkey would primarily consider buying electronic, surveillance and intelligence systems designed to fight urban terror.
 
“Looking at the multitude of threats the Turks are facing and the potential longevity of these threats, this [anti-terror effort] has the potential to become a sizable market,” he said. 
 
Political observers said that considering the regional conflicts in which Turkey is involved, terror attacks may continue to hit Turkey’s big cities.
 
“Turkey is in cold to conventional and asymmetrical war with a large number of state and non-state actors in this part of the world, including restive Kurdish militants and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant,” said one London-based Turkey specialist. 
 
“Add to that deep hostilities with the Shiite bloc of actors like Syria, Iran, the Iraqi government, Shiite militias in Lebanon — and now in Syria — and the pro-Shiite military power Russia … and their potential links with various terrorist organizations … things will look gloomy for Turkey,” he said. 
 
Email: bbekdil@defensenews.com

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