Science-Technology

Turkey, UK should be cybersecurity allies, says British expert

As threats, warfare change globally, Turkey 'got it right' investing so much effort in cyber security, says ex-UK lawmaker

Aysu Bicer and Gokhan Ergocun   | 07.12.2021
Turkey, UK should be cybersecurity allies, says British expert

ISTANBUL

Turkey, having rightly invested much effort in cybersecurity, should be a major ally for the UK to cooperate with in this field, according to a former British lawmaker.

“All over the world, countries are now appreciating the importance of devoting more of their defense budget to cyber protection,” said Lady Olga Maitland, who currently serves as the head of the London-based Defense and Security Forum.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview, Maitland noted that the UK served as one example of this, reducing the number of its soldiers from 83,000 to 72,000 and channeling the resources saved into cyber protection.

“Because at the end of the day, warfare has changed. It’s not just insurgencies. But it's also cyberattacks on critical infrastructure,” she stressed.

Pointing out China’s massive efforts and enormous power in this area, she described its behavior “digital authoritarianism.”

While Beijing’s capabilities are still no match for the US, it is rapidly catching up, she underlined.

"It is a new factor we've got to take into account.”

Adding that Russia was also an important actor with major capabilities, she said it “doesn’t have the same strength and capacity as America, but they have a total ruthlessness."

This means that nothing holds such countries back making other nations vulnerable, she added.


Turkey's enhanced cyber protection

According to Maitland, Turkey was wise to enhance its capacity in cyber protection, especially in setting up its own national cybersecurity center.

“The UK is willing to offer its knowledge and capacity with its fellow NATO countries, and with friendly countries with whom we share the same values and Turkey is clearly important in this regard,” she said.

Turkey should not be left to fend for itself, she underlined, adding that the UK, being outside the EU, could now pursue more flexible business ties.

Touching on drones she said these could be a great asset in civilian operations, as well.

“Drones are a fact of life. They are very flexible. They're not expensive to produce, they can get under the radar, and they're very good for reconnaissance,” she said.

However, she added, in the absence of a proper defense system or software to protect such unmanned aircraft, they are of little use and not enough to secure a country.

“So that's why I think the Turkish government got it right in putting so much effort into cyber warfare,” she said.

She also pointed out that the two countries had a long history of cooperation.

“We have great respect for Turkey's armed forces, even during the First World War. We recognize the courage of the Turkish Mehmets (troops) and facing the English Johnnies, whereas we were on different sides.”

"We never lost that respect. So, there is a mutual interest today,” she stressed, reiterating “without doubt, Turkey should be the UK's ally in cybersecurity.”

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