By Levent Yılmaz:-
e are going through a phase where the economy and all developments related to it have become more important than ever. Concepts such as economic security, intelligence, wars and attacks have now become a part of our daily life. Of course, when it comes to these concepts, it’s only a matter of time before those who discuss them are dismissed as “conspiracy theorists.” For this reason, let’s demonstrate the seriousness of this issue through two examples taken from the CIA archives.
TURKEY’S ECONOMY IN CIA DOCUMENTS
From the documents in their archives, we can see the reasons that govern the international activities of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and what lies behind the prevalent perception that this entity has played an active role in staging coups in numerous countries. When we look at the details of the economic ones, we can see the approach implemented to detect the weaknesses of the target country.
For example, on page 61 of a CIA report titled “Turkey” and dated December 22, 1948, the records about the then Treasury Minister Şevket Adalan are quite interesting.
In the report, which includes detailed information about all government officials, the section about Adalan ends with the following sentences: “Although he is clearly knowledgeable in financial matters, he has not yet shown extraordinary abilities.”
Another example is from the period of Turgut Özal. In the report titled “Turkey: The Impact of Population Growth” dated December 1984, the possible economic, social and political consequences of population growth in Turkey were evaluated.
The conclusion part is quite interesting: “In our view, if Turkey’s leaders cannot cope with the pressures of demographic change, the most likely alternative to evolution towards democracy is the military “leaving the barracks” as high youth unemployment re-emerges in turmoil and violence. In light of the country’s historical experience and the challenges it will face, it is highly likely that a period of military rule – perhaps a prolonged one – will be repeated by the end of the century. Other alternatives, such as a move towards Islamic radicalism, may be considered, but in our view it is unlikely, largely because the military will almost certainly retain the power and will to suppress them.” In other words, they think “the army will stage a coup.”
U.S.-CHINA TRADE WARS
The trade war between the U.S. and China was one of the most heated topics of discussion in the pre-pandemic period. Although news coverage paints as a purely economic struggle due to Washington’s foreign trade deficit with Beijing, we know that the main issue is the hegemonic power struggle between the two nations. It is obvious that the consequences of the world’s economic center of gravity moving from the west to the east will have not only economic but also political and security ramifications.
In this respect, since the implications of the economic side of the issue on other areas are known, economic steps are taken as well as political measures. This is called economic warfare. As we have seen above with the CIA’s Turkey example, intelligence organizations also collect economic intel to use in trade wars.
ECONOMIC INDEPENDENCE AND SECURITY
It is possible to define the concept of economic independence roughly as the ability of an individual or a country to live their lives based on their own economic resources. Although such an approach seems to be still valid for individuals, more variables need to come together for the economic independence of countries at a time when global economic integration is so intense.
For this, the continuity of access to critical resources, namely the issue of supply security and the protection and support of strategic sectors, is more important than ever. In addition, it is necessary to beef up the economy’s resistance against foreign interventions. Countries that can be successful here also establish a high level of economic security. In this respect, in the age of “trade wars,” economic security is an indispensable asset.