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Training Is Not Enough: Economic Development and Military Professionalism in Turkey

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Western states engage in security assistance for many reasons, but the focus of these efforts at the operational level is often the professionalization of foreign militaries. To date, those assistance operations aimed at professionalizing foreign militaries have focused on training and equipping foreign forces and have generally not taken into account the aggregate level of economic development in recipient states. The history of Turkish economic development and military professionalization, however, suggests that operations aimed at professionalizing foreign militaries should take deliberate account of a recipient state's level of economic development. Turkey endured decades of frustrated military reform, followed by an episode of significant economic development that ushered in a period of remarkable development in professional military institutions. If the Turkish case is any indication of how militaries in developing countries could become professional, then it should give leaders pause before committing to train the militaries of states with under-developed economies, and it should inform security assistance operations on the ground when circumstances dictate who partners will be.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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  • The St Antony's International Review (STAIR) is the only peer-reviewed journal of international affairs at the University of Oxford. Set up by graduate students of St Antony's College in 2005, the Review has carved out a distinctive niche as a cross-disciplinary outlet for research on the most pressing contemporary global issues, providing a forum in which emerging scholars can publish their work alongside established academics and policymakers. Past contributors include Robert O. Keohane, James N. Rosenau, and Alfred Stepan.
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