Is There A Country That Could Defeat Turkey? We Find Out

Turkey is a major nation at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. For centuries the Turkish Ottoman Empire ruled much of what is today the Balkans and the Middle East. Even since the founding of the modern Turkish state in 1923 the country’s position has been significant, however less imperial. So, could we see the tides of history change ever and Turkey itself be overcome? Is there even a country that could defeat Turkey in a war?

There are several countries that could defeat Turkey in a war, including America, China, India and Russia. However, there are no countries in Turkey’s own region that would likely come out victorious in a conflict against it.

…but that’s just an overview. If we are really going to asses which countries could win a war against Turkey, we need to go into a bit more detail.

Is There A Country That Could Defeat Turkey In A War?

Turkey is a significant military power. However, Turkey could be defeated by many countries with much large armed forces, including America, China, Russia and India. All of these countries have much stronger militaries than Turkey.

If we are going to fully understand if there is a nation that could win a war against Turkey, we need to compare the size of the Turkish armed forces against those of other major miliary powers. Any country with a smaller, or even comparably sized, military would likely lose to Turkey in a conflict.

Below is comparison table of the Turkish military against the armed forces of major military powers.

CountryNumber of Active-Duty SoldiersNumber of ReservistsNumber of Main Battle TanksNumber of Combat AircraftNumber of Warships
United States1,388,100844,0506,2092,628490
North Korea1,280,000600,0003,500537630
All data from Wikipedia.

The United States has over a million more active-duty soldiers than Turkey has. America also has over double the number of reservists. Turkey does have an enormous number of tanks, but the US still has over two thousand more. Where America has a significant advantage over Turkey is in the air, as the US has over 2,300 more fighter jets. America also has a huge navy compared to Turkey. It’s clear America could defeat Turkey in a war.

China’s military is huge compared to Turkey’s, with almost two million more soldiers and 800,000 more reservists. However, China has only around 1,300 more tanks, but also has over 1,300 more fighter jets. China’s navy is also enormous compared to Turkey’s relatively small maritime force. China’s more powerful military means it would almost certainly win a war against Turkey.

India also has over a million more troops than Turkey, as well as nearly another million more reservists. However, India and Turkey have around the same number of main battle tanks, but India has twice the number of fighter jets. India also has about 100 more warships than Turkey does. India’s huge military could quite easily defeat Turkey.

Russia has around three times the number of active-duty soldiers than Turkey does. They also have over five times the number of reservists. Russia does have less tanks than Turkey, but many more warplanes and ships. In a modern war, jets are arguably more vital than tanks, and anyway Russia’s many more troops would mean it could definitely win a war against Turkey.

Vietnam does not have significantly more frontline troops than Turkey, and actually has less tanks and aircrafts. Vietnam’s navy is also not much bigger than Turkey’s. However, Vietnam has an incredible number of reservists, over 13 times Turkey’s entire military personnel. If Vietnam deployed all of these in a conflict against Turkey, is would almost certainly win.

North Korea may have almost a million more troops than Turkey, but the DPRK has far fewer tanks and not many more fighter jets. However, the North Korean military is poorly trained and equipped. It would be hard to determine who would win a war between Turkey and North Korea.

Is There A Country In Turkey’s Region That Could Win A War Against It?

Ok, so we’ve compared Turkey’s military strength to that of major world powers and it is clear that many of them could defeat Turkey in a war. However, in many ways this is unrealistic. The countries above are all hundreds or even thousands of miles away from Turkey. Some are even allied with Turkey. What would be more realistic would be to ask if any countries in Turkey’s own region could win a war against it?

There is no country that borders Turkey, or is in its region, that would likely win a war against it. Turkey is a major military power in south eastern Europe and the Middle East and has one of the largest and strongest armed forces.

Below is a table comparing Turkey’s miliary strength with other countries in the region.

CountryNumber of Active-Duty SoldiersNumber of ReservistsNumber of Main Battle TanksNumber of Combat AircraftNumber of Warships

It’s clear from this data that Turkey has by far the largest armed forces in its region. In fact, the Turkish military is over twice the size of any other army that is close to Turkey. This means that it is highly unlikely that any country in Turkey’s region could win a war against it, especially if they were fighting alone. Even if some countries around Turkey joined together to fight it, Turkey’s large military would still make it very difficult to defeat.

Why Is Turkey Hard To Defeat?

By looking at Turkey’s military strength compared to other countries in its region it’s clear that few would win a war against Turkey. However, there are actually a range of factors that make Turkey hard to defeat in a conflict. These include:

  • Turkey’s military strength
  • Turkey’s high-tech military capabilities
  • Turkey’s network of alliances

Let’s take a quick look at each of these…

Turkey’s Military Strength

A first reason why Turkey is hard to defeat is because of the strength of its armed forces. As we’ve discussed, Turkey has by far the largest military in its region, and is considered a major military power globally. No country is going to try and attack Turkey because its powerful military acts as a strong deterrent.

Turkey’s High-Tech Military Capabilities

Another reason why Turkey is hard to defeat is because of its advanced military capabilities. Turkey has a modern and well-trained armed forces. The country also has a significant domestic arms industry that manufactures military equipment. Turkey has especially perfected drone technology, with Turkish drones being used in many recent conflicts to great effectiveness. The fact that Turkey has such an advanced military makes it very hard to win a war against

Turkey’s Network Of Alliances

A final reason why Turkey is hard to win a war against is because of its alliances. Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952. NATO is a defensive alliance of 30 countries that includes the US, Canada, the UK, France, Poland and Germany. Article 5 of the NATO treaty provides collective security for all members, meaning an attack on one is an attack on all. This means every NATO country would join a war with Turkey if it was ever attacked. This is perhaps the biggest reason why it would be so hard to defeat in a war.

Global Affairs Explained

Global Affairs Explained is an ongoing project aiming to provide concise guides to world events. Focusing on international relations, history, and geo-politics, Global Affairs Explained uses original research and data to answer questions often not covered by traditional media.

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