Turkey Launched Cyber Warfare Command

The Turkish military considers cyber security as the fifth force of the state. From an Israeli perspective Turkey, despite being a member of NATO, can transfer offensive cyber capabilities to Hamas without breaking any international regulation - simply because there isn't one

Jamie Shia, NATO’s deputy assistant secretary general for emerging security challenges, once said: “One hundred twenty countries currently have or are developing offensive cyber-attack capabilities which are now viewed as the fifth dimension of warfare after space, sea, land and space.”

The Turks took that very seriously – well, at least the idea. Last June, the Turkish government launched the Center for Response to National Cyber Threats. Earlier, the Turkish military headquarters had formed a Cyber Warfare Command, according to a report on hurriyetdailynews/>

It should be recalled that within Turkey operates the qualitative hacker group under the name RedHack. Although the local police declared it is a terrorist organization, the possibility that the State's Cyber Warfare Command may decide to integrate the group's capabilities in the command cannot be ruled out.

Only last year, Turkey hosted about a dozen conferences on cyber security and new technologies. Speaking at the last one, in November, Colonel Cengiz Özteke, commander of the military General Staff’s division for electronic systems and cyber defense, said the Turkish military now considered cyber security as the country’s fifth force – precisely as Jamie Shia suggested.

Murad Bayar, Turkey’s top defense procurement official until two weeks ago, said, “Cyber defense has become an indispensable part of our national defense.” Bayar, now a chief adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, also said in November that the government viewed cyber-attacks “as a national security threat.”

On an institutional and corporate scale, an impressive number of Turkish players deal with cyber security solutions: the government watchdog Information and Communication Technologies Authority, the General Staff, military electronics specialist Aselsan, military software specialist Havelsan and the state scientific research institution TÜBİTAK. Of these, TÜBİTAK itself accounts for 70 percent of all national crypto solutions. 

Transfer of cyber capabilities to Hamas

For Israel, this means that Turkish knowledge related to offensive cyber capabilities can be transferred to Hamas, at least while Erdoğan holds the reins. As early as last year articles were published signaling that Turkey is helping Hamas, and after AKP (Erdoğan's party) won the elections this month, Hamas was open about the fact that it expects Turkey to come to its rescue (israelnationalnews, al-monitor, algemeiner).

Well, such support can be executed in training offensive cyber units. It should be remembered that, as of this writing, there is no international treaty to prevent the distribution of any offensive cyber knowledge and capabilities, so Turkey can do it without any legal difficulty, despite being a member of NATO.

While such knowledge is not lacking in Iran, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and other countries. In the last two years there was no shortage of attempts to attack Israeli assets coming from hackers of these countries. However, Turkey has strong motives to do so – starting from the Marmara incident, through a desire to weaken Israel's power in the regional struggles for influence and energy, to emotional- theologians considerations (let's call a spade a spade).

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