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Due to the structural transformation in the world economy In the 1970s, the Keynesian-State Interventionist economic model collapses and replaced it with the Neo-Liberal economic model. The new economic model aimed at minimizing government intervention in the market and transferring cumbersome and damaging government enterprises-units to a private for-profit enterprise in every possible area.

In this context, countries that adopt the Neo-Liberal economic model as a new model; they have privatized in almost every area, including strategic facilities and structures such as communication infrastructures, energy facilities, ports, and airports. The fact that countries profit from the privatizations realized and the positive change in the cost-profit, cost-benefit ratios of the privatized sectors brought privatization to other critical and strategic areas. At this stage, the privatization of security, especially foreign security units, which is one of the most costly items of state expenditures, came to the world agenda.

In this context; the main purpose of this study is to examine private military companies in the context of privatization of security, analyze the general organizational models and fields of activity of these formations that are against the existing international legal norms.

Therefore, in the first part of the study, the privatization of the concept of security and its reflections in the nation-state model will be examined. Then, private military companies and their examples at different countries will be examined which are the result of states needs to more qualified operation units and that can use for 'dark operations' in cross-border geographies, which are do not leave footprints.

In the last part, the roles and possible fields of activity of private military companies in the security of the future in the context of privatization of security, and as a result of the need for such units, the possibility of new subcontracting units will be considered to be derived in the fields of internal and external security.

Key Concepts: Private Military Companies, Security of the Future, Privatization of Security







     Just as the inter-communal struggles and wars are as old as human history, the concept of mercenary is as old as. These mercenaries have been at the forefront of the fronts in the most critical wars and struggles throughout history and have changed the course and outcome of many wars. However, when it is evaluated technically, the privatization of war is a different concept than mercenary. Because mercenaries serve for money in a foreign army (Yalçınkaya, 2020a).

Today, private military companies are evolved, globalized, and industrialized models of the concept of the mercenary (Singer, 2004). The fact that these companies took part in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan recently caused this billion-dollar industry to become more audible on the world agenda. However, the fact that private military companies came to the fore in these wars does not mean that they are new. It should be known that these companies have been subcontracting in different parts of the world since the 1970s.

So why is open source information about these companies and their activities so limited even today?

The main reasons for this famine-related information shortage are research and data gap. The main reason for the lack of data is mostly because it protects these companies, which perform secret operations in geographies where states do not want to leave footprints. So what are the main missions and fields of activity of more than 90 private military companies operating in more than 110 countries?

In its most basic definition; private military companies are organizations that offer professional services in the global market and aim to profit. The main fields of activity of these organizations are strategic security training-consultancy and support, as well as logistic support to war zones, tactical attack operations, strategic operational planning, intelligence studies, high-level protection services, search-rescue missions at the conflict areas, military-technical equipment support and training, It is the supply, maintenance, and repair services of weapons and vehicles used in wars (ICIJ, 2002).

At the same time, these companies establish connections with other companies in this industry as global trade units and create a network in this field and share resources and duties from time to time. So how should these companies be positioned in today's perception of security? How did the need for these companies emerge? These questions form the basis of the emergence of private military companies.

Basically, the emergence of these companies is based on a radical change and transformation in the structure of the economy and security in the globalizing world. With the end of the Cold War, the transformation in the structure of security has led countries to invest in operational units that produce well-trained professional and cheaper more effective solutions by liquidating large bulky and dysfunctional armies. In addition, the structural transformation in the global economy has led countries to privatization in almost all areas, and in a sense compelled to limit public spending even in the most strategic areas. At this stage, the concept of security, which is one of the most discussed areas of national sovereignty, came to the fore (Yalçınkaya, 2020b).

          1. Privatization of Security

     With the collapse of the Keynesian economic model and the replacement of the Neoliberal economic model, the new system tried to push states out of all kinds of economic fields and expenditure items. Because, according to the new system, the state should not interfere with the economic field and the market for why the 'invisible hand' of the market will regulate itself in any case and condition. In addition, the new system compelled countries to cut spending items even in the most basic areas, and to privatize state-controlled units. For this reason, the countries; have gone on to privatize public capitals operating in almost every area, including strategic facilities and structures such as communications infrastructures, power plants, ports, and airports.

The acceleration of globalization and the economic returns of countries from privatization have brought privatization to the agenda in areas other than those specified. In line with the necessities of the new global economic system, management mechanisms, which have to think on a cost-benefit basis in almost every field, have become contemplating to leave the issues which are closed to debate half a century ago, to the initiative of the private enterprise. At this stage, the economically irresistible appeal of privatization has brought up the debate on whether security, which is one of the most critical elements of national sovereignty, can be privatized.

As of the point reached, it is clearly seen that management powers, like in other areas, are going to privatize in security with their concerns in terms of both cost and functionality.

Because security spending is a very expensive issue, which is at the top of the public expenditure items of the countries. In addition, the post-Cold War security perception has made it imperative to establish modern and effective security units in countries rather than bulky troops.

For this reason, especially with the spread of globalization to the world at a dizzying pace and cost-benefit calculations penetrate to the smallest unit of the society; individuals, companies, countries, and even international organizations are increasingly turning to security services of the private enterprise rather than public institutions. However, the most painful transition process in the context of the privatization of security takes place at the level of states.

Because the states had to redesign the security units according to the new security understanding of the post-Cold War and the new economic model after the 1970s. In this context, most of the countries have built army structures, which are called professional armies, and their basic backbone is made up of paid personnel.

In addition, the countries that organize operations especially in transnational geographies have turned to private military companies called subcontractors apart from the national army units. Undoubtedly, one of the main reasons for this trend is cost-benefit calculations, as mentioned earlier. However, this is not sufficient to explain the existence and effectiveness of private military companies.

Another important factor in the increase of the use of these private military companies since the 1970s is the maximum confidentiality and effectiveness targets of the countries especially in illegal operations and interventions. Private military companies have created a closed market in this area as units that offer the most ideal solutions for such situations. Especially, the demands of the states for zero-footprint in transnational operations and interventions, that is, the desire to avoid the legal and political obligations of the operations, are the most important factors in the establishment, developing of private military companies and becoming industrial.

As a result, countries are moving towards the privatization of security, which is one of the most controversial areas of national sovereignty, in line with both economic and critical military-security centered targets.

Private military companies are the most concrete examples of this progress. However, these units, which are mainly used for the dark operations of the states, have been the target of both legal and political criticism due to these aspects (Güç, 2007).

In this context, the possible roles of private military companies in the privatization of security and security perceptions of tomorrow are evaluated and discussed by both state mechanisms and academic centers. Accordingly; in the next part of the study, the focus of the discussions, private military companies will be examined from a multidimensional perspective, and some examples of this industry on a global scale will be analyzed along with its fields of activity.

          2. Private Military Companies

With the most basic definition private military companies are, profit-oriented formations they are either armed or disarmed in battlefields or that offer professional services and solutions such as combat support, security strategies, and security consultancy. The services, consultancies, expertises, and solutions offered by these companies are mostly similar to an army unit on the field. Therefore, it is possible to define these companies as contract companies that offer special services in different areas of security for the fee they receive.

Although these companies define themselves as “Security Contractors”, the fields of activity of the companies, the size of the industry formed by these companies, and the fact that most private military companies have ties with the arms industry reveal the hidden face of these companies.

In addition, the definitions and fields of activities of the companies have been reshaped with the demands for these companies in the process. In other words, besides providing money security services with the most basic definition, companies have started to offer a wide range of services from military equipment maintenance to peacekeeping duties with the demands and processes signed in the process. For example, the 'Executive Outcomes' firm has undertaken a peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone. Although the Sierra Leoneli statesmen applied to this solution to prevent foreign interventions, this incident constitutes an important example for the private military companies' fields of activity that are expanding day by day (Zabcı, 2013). At this point, the most basic situation to be emphasized; the concept of "War Contracting" in direct proportion with the increase of non-state actor-intensive conflicts, where states are not a direct party, has emerged in a number of uncertainties with the appreciation and privatization of security.

Especially with the changing nature of wars, situations have started to be determined through contracts in combat areas. The most complicated discussions about the status of companies stem from their legal status. For this reason, the legal status of private military companies and the examination of these companies according to international legal norms will be included in the next title of the study. 

          2.1. Legal Status of Private Military Companies

     As it is known, with the founding agreement of the United Nations, it is aimed to guarantee the security of the sovereign states. Therefore; although the wars are not strictly prohibited from the relevant articles of the agreement, the preferability of the wars has been eliminated. In accordance with the same agreement, the use of power internationally was defined only under the state under the necessary conditions. Therefore, from this agreement that constitutes the monopoly to use of force of the state, and it will not be expected to have appropriate legal status for private military companies in the international system it has set.

However, it should not be forgotten that the liberalization of the system, and therefore the state, has brought changes in the field of security as in every field. Just as, legal infrastructures suitable for privatizations have been created in other fields, it is inevitable to establish a legal infrastructure for the privatization of security. However, since the discussions are based on the current order, it is useful to approach the issue through today's norms.

In today's international legal system, there is no norm directly regulating the status of private military companies. However, this does not mean that companies are exempt from international law. Private military companies are also subject to all rules and rules of international law.

Nevertheless, the United Nations Human Rights Commission defined private military companies and their activities as a kind of mercenary activity in 2007 and referred to the Geneva Convention and stated that these structures are a kind of 'illegal combat element', and prohibits the use of these elements on the battlefields.

However, the United States, known as the headquarters of private military companies, stated that the commission did not recognize this definition and decision, which was published in the report. [1]

Despite this attitude of the USA, private military company personnel was included in the definition of mercenaries in Article 47 of the Annex I Protocol of the Geneva Convention and it was decided that they would not be able to take advantage of the prisoner rights if they were captured by other forces.

As it is understood from the information provided, there is no provision, definition, or agreement that clearly determines the status of private military companies in international legal norms in this process of transition to private security. However, in the reported study led by the Human Rights Commission, it was tried to draw attention to the issue and some restrictions were targeted against the company personnel. As a result of the US's attitude towards this activity, the report did not create the expected impact on the international public opinion and the issue continues to remain ambiguous. In addition, it has come to the agenda that even the United Nations is considering using these companies in peacekeeping operations due to higher standards and more effective solutions at lower costs. This situation has led to the comments that after the painful transition period, the legal status of private military companies can be used even by international organizations as standard security units after determination and acceptance of international legal norms.

However, status discussions on private military companies are not limited to these. As it is known, since these companies are commercial units, these companies have an installation center and company campuses where they organize their legal activities. Another point of discussion at this stage is whether the countries hosting these companies can be held responsible for the activities of private military companies.

          2.1.1. Responsibilities of States in the Activities of Private Military Companies

     When considered in the context of private law; it is possible to say that the relationship between private military companies and states is a kind of employer-contractor relationship. At this point, the question arises as to whether the employer, that is, the state that awarded the bid and the contract signed, could be held responsible for the actions and activities of the subcontractor.

Because the company named Blackwater, which will be examined in the following sections has been found to have committed many human crimes during the US invasion of Iraq. In this case, it is the main subject of this section whether the US employing the company can or can not be held responsible for this situation or whether any legal sanction can be imposed on the USA due to the activities of this company.

The first legal document on private military companies in the "Mercenaries Convention" signed in 1989 in the United Nations. Pursuant to the signed convention, private military companies are prohibited from taking part in the battlefield and playing a role (Gürbüz, 2017a). This agreement was brought to the agenda again in 2017 after the discussions on the subject increased again and were approved by 35 countries.

However, under the leadership of the USA and Russia, which are the two most mentioned countries with private military companies; the Failure of all members of the security council to sign the agreement has eliminated the applicability of the articles of agreement legally. Although the terms of the agreement have not been legally enforced; if an actual relationship or cooperation between a state and a private military company is proved,  the expert opinions state that the employer, the state that signed the contract legally, can be held responsible for the company's actions. In order to base this view, the decisions taken by the former Yugoslav War Courts on non-regular armed elements (paramilitary elements) are considered as examples.

The most important point to be noted at this point is that; ın the context of the results of the contract between the employer state and the contractor company and the activities of the company, the state cannot only be held criminally responsible, at the same time is that it may also be subject to international law because of indirect attacks on the target state. For example, a private military company employed by the state 'A', due to illegal activities within the borders of the state ‘B’, ‘A’ state considered that the can be subjected to international law within the framework of indirect war activity (Gürbüz, 2017b).

However, at this stage, there is a legal gap again. Because in the related additional protocol of the Geneva Convention mentioned earlier, the difference between paramilitaries, voluntary force, and private military company personnel was emphasized. In this context, a clear distinction has been made between those performing professional military service and paramilitary forces, and it has been stated that these professional soldiers can be defined as voluntary forces if they are on the battlefield with the approval and support of a state.

This situation is almost the same as the freedom fighter-terrorist dilemma, which is one of the main problems in the fight against terrorism today. In other words, the personnel carrying out illegal activities depending on the private military company can be defined as voluntary force compared to some other countries.

 Examples of this situation were seen in the Syrian civil war, and foreign mercenaries who fought in the terrorist organization YPG/PKK ranks were launched as so-called volunteer forces. [2] This example shows us that the current norms of international law are insufficient to define the status and activities of private military companies.

However, in order to better understand the issue, it will be useful to examine some of the private military companies whose activities are known all over the world and their activities one by one and to customize the security in the security of the future.

          2.2. Examples of Private Military Companies Worldwide

          2.2.1. Blackwater

     One of the most important things to know about private military companies is that these companies do not only operate in certain countries, but they also take part in conflicts in almost every part of the world. As Peter Warren Singer who one of the best-known names in research on private military companies emphasized in 2003, there is a global industry created by private military companies.

However,  if it is necessary to make a determination it is possible to say that the countries that use private military companies the most are America and England(corporate headquarters), and the regions where these companies are used the most are African countries.

But here it is necessary to open a special bracket for the American-based company Blackwater. Because Blackwater made its name known with the US invasion of Iraq and came to the agenda with its role in the conflicts and massacres in Iraq in the following period. At this stage of the study, the establishment of the company, its activities, and the identification of the lawsuits related to the company will allow the examination of perhaps the most known example of private military companies.

Blackwater which established by Eric Prince and Al Clark in 1997 defined itself as a company in the first period that provides police training, bomb disposal training, special-purpose dog breeding (narcotic and bomb detection dogs), and special protection services.

However, in the coming period, the company added new services to its range of services, such as the hiring of trained and equipped military personnel and the supply, maintenance, and repair of military equipment (Meyssan, 2015). The specially trained personnel service its offers has been a turning point for Blackwater. The company's low-cost, efficient, and professional services attracted the attention of the American government, and the company succeeded in entering the list of subcontractors for which the government signed cooperation agreements. In this period, the September 11 attacks and the USA's initiation of the global war against terrorism have opened up new opportunities for the company. Especially the start of the invasion of Iraq and the assignment of the company in this occupation made Blackwater provided to known worldwide.

After the initiation of Blackwater Iraq and Afghanistan operations, which succeeded in signing one of the biggest cooperation agreements of the US Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a short time, it took part in the protection of the US diplomats in these countries and also took part in residential quarter in these countries.

The successful operations of the company in the first 5 years of the occupation increased its worldwide reputation day by day and brought about the questioning of private military companies. However, a scandal carried out by company personnel in 2007 caused the company to be on the global agenda and the beginning of a smear period for private military companies. In Baghdad which capital of Iraq, Blackwater personnel, who performed the duty of protecting the convoy of the American diplomats, opened fire on a civilian group because they drive their vehicles towards the convoy, and acting aggressively. They caused the death of 17 civilians and injured 20 civilians. This event, which is known as the Nisur Square Massacre in history, was the beginning of the end for Blackwater.

After the scandal broke out, the crimes of the humanity that the company committed especially in Iraq emerged one after another. It has been determined that Blackwater personnel have applied to torture in questioning Iraqi prisoners and reported civilian casualties as insurgents. After the Nisur Square Massacre, the working license, which provided the legal ground for the company to operate in Iraq, was canceled and the company offices were closed.

However, the majority of company personnel continued to work alongside American soldiers by being shown to work in other private military companies or subcontractors. Because of the US origin weapons which are carried by deactivated PKK terrorists, a new investigation opened. As a result of the investigation, it was found that the weapons seized were obtained from Iraq and that Blackwater company brought these weapons from the USA and sold them illegally in Iraq.[3]

As a result of the involvement of all these scandals, the USA has been initiated the investigation and judicial processes due to the company's role in the Nisur Square Massacre and other illegal activities. While most of the files related to the company were closed due to lack of grounds for legal action, 4 Blackwater personnel, who were found to be involved in the Nisur Square Massacre, started to be tried. As a result of the trials, in 2014, one of 4 personnel were sentenced to life imprisonment and the other three personnel to various terms.[4]

The Nisur Square Massacre started a new era for private military companies. Criminals were not prosecuted in the courts in Iraq because of involved were US citizens. This has shown that the US-based private military companies and their personnel are virtually 'untouchable' in the countries where they operate. In addition, after this incident, it was decided by a law that was approved by the US House of Representatives that the US soldiers and private military company personnel in conflict zones could only be tried in the US courts about alleged crimes. This law clearly reveals the effects and activities of private military companies and the industry that they create in the USA.

After all these events, the company's founder Eric Prince fled to the United Arab Emirates. Blackwater, under the name of XE Services, entered a restructuring process in 2009 because the company name was involved in the scandals. In 2011, the name of the company was changed to Academi.

In addition, Eric Prince, who continues to work in the field of private security, has reactivated the Frontier Services Group (FSG), which he founded in 1990 but does not operate effectively, in Hong Kong.

It has been determined that this company, which has determined Africa as its main field of activity, has made business contracts in different parts of the world through many subsidiaries. The signing of an employment contract with the Iraqi government in 2018 by one of the FSG subsidiary companies revived the traces of the Blackwater trauma in the country.[5]

Finally, after US President Donald Trump announced that he would withdraw US troops from Syria and Afghanistan, the claim that professional personnel from Eric Prince's companies would be placed in these regions came to the agenda (Tharoor, 2017). However, the allegations were denied by the US Department of Defence (Pentagon).

          2.2.2. Wagner Group

Launched as Putin's secret army in public, Wagner Group first announced its name in the Ukrainian operations launched by Russia in 2014. This formation, which started to be heard more frequently after the Ukrainian and Crimean interventions, soon began to show up in armed conflicts and interventions in different geographies of the world in connection with the aggressive and interventionist foreign policies of Russia (Görücü, Bünyad, 2020).

At the present time, ıt is claimed that; Wagner Group personnel are present in 8 different countries and conflict regions such as Syria, Libya Venezuela, Mozambique, Central African Republic.[6] The basic information about Wagner is based on statements made by the families of the personnel of the company who lost their lives in conflict zones, non-Russian-based media sources opposed to Putin and American-based media outlets.

In the past years after the Blackwater scandals, private military companies did not keep the world agenda as busy as before.

However, as mentioned earlier, Wagner Group, which has made a name for Russia's Ukraine and Crimean interventions, has again drawn public attention to private military companies. Due to the countries in which it operates and the conflicts it takes place, the company has become the most known and discussed private military company of today (Sparks, 2016).

Diagram 1: Organizational Structure of the Wagner Group

So, for what purposes was the foundation of this company laid? What are the mission, services, and activities of the Wagner Group? Although there is no officially confirmed information about Wagner Group yet, it is accepted that the founder of the company is Evgeni Prigozhin, known for its proximity to Putin.

Although it is accepted that the founder and owner of the company is Prigozhin, it is stated that the management of the company is under the control of a retired intelligence officer, Dmitri Utkin (Gostev, 2016).

However, as stated earlier, since the information about the corporate structure of the company has not been officially confirmed, researches, and evaluations in the current conditions are concentrated on the activities of Wagner Group. Wagner, like his peers; is a formation that provides professional military training, security consultancy, strategic planning support, operational support, military equipment support, and special protection services (Hauer, 2019).

The company, which was active in geographies close to Russia (Ukraine-Crimea) at the beginning, can today display assets and activities in a wide range from Libya in the Middle East to Sudan in Africa and even Venezuela in Latin America.

Diagram 2: Activity Areas of the Wagner Group (Retrieved from www.suriyegundemi.com)

However, especially after 2016, the regions where company activities are most intense are determined as Syria and Libya. With Russia's involvement in the Syrian crisis, Wagner personnel also started to play a role in the conflicts, and they gave important support to the regime army, especially on issues such as strategic planning, technical-equipment support, and destruction of high priority targets. The inclusion of Wagner in the equation made the balance on the field change in favor of the regime armies in a very short time.

With the company's involvement in the clashes, the Haftar troops, which made rapid progress in street wars in Libya, soon began to take the National Reconciliation Government siege. At the last stage, the most important detail to be known about Wagner Group is that private military companies are not only acting for profit but sometimes they are active in the secret operations of the states or in areas where they do not want to formally exist.

At the last stage, the most important detail to be known about Wagner Group is that private military companies are not only acting for profit but sometimes they are active in the secret operations of the states or in areas where they do not want to formally exist. From this point of view, it is possible to say that one of the private military companies, especially for the Wagner Group, is to perform operations and interventions with zero footprints in cross-border geographies in line with the demands of the states. Also, it has been revealed how dangerous the use of private military companies like Wagner as secret armies under the command of autocratic leaders. At this stage, it is necessary to make relevant arrangements in the context of international law in relation to private military companies and to prevent their illegal use by defining their legal status.

In this context, as can be seen in the two examples covered in the study, the activities of private military companies to date have been in violation of both international and national legal norms. However, this situation did not cause any sanctions regarding the activities of private military companies, and the company's continued to exist in other forms with other names. Therefore, at this stage, it has become possible to say that private military companies will continue their existence and activities in the security of the future and that companies that carry out these activities will be preferred in the future due to the needs and the costs of the armies. In other words, considering the privatization adventure of security, the role of private military companies in the future of security has been established.

So, in what aspects of security will these companies play roles in the future? Will legal arrangements be made regarding the status and fields of activity of companies? Based on these questions, in the next part of the study, predictions will be made on the future of private military companies, and opinions will be given on the possible roles of private military companies in the security of the future in the light of the ever-changing and developing nature of security.

          3. The Role and Importance of Private Military Companies in the Future of the Security

     As mentioned in the previous sections of the study, structural transformations in the world economy encouraged countries to make privatizations in almost every field. This situation was one of the important factors in the emergence of private military companies. Nowadays, the reaching of capitalism to wild dimensions has affected almost every field in economic and social life. At this stage, they turned to cost-effective solutions in their most basic expenditure in states. For this reason, some states are signing contracts with private military companies both publicly and secretly.

So what will this be like in the near and mid-future? Can private military companies survive? If these companies expand their service areas, can they become more effective and more preferred than they are today by gaining legitimacy in the future?

At this point, in line with the main theme of the study, it is in the direction of the personal opinion that private military companies will continue to exist in the security of the future and even these companies can provide legitimate services and solutions in many more fields than they do today. In this way, it is assumed that these companies will be preferred more in the near and middle future. It will be useful to state some developments and examples to justify the stated personal opinion.

It was mentioned in the previous sections that the most important factors in the emergence of private military companies are cost-benefit-based expenditure plans. Another important factor in the emergence and even growth and development of these companies is the strategies of states to intervene through these companies, which are not legally binding, instead of directly interfering in conflict zones or battlefields.  Especially after September 11, due to the changing nature and perceptions of security, it was observed that the states cooperated with local proxies and benefited from these elements in cross-border operations in line with their regional interests. The proxy wars spoken today are a product of this understanding.

But will the relations of the countries with the actors they use for regional interests always be positive?

It cannot be guaranteed that the proxy elements created by the states in line with their regional goals and strategies will not conflict with the country that educates and educates them at the end of the day.

As a result, these proxy elements cooperated with that state in line with certain interests and mutual gains. So if the interests change or the balance of earnings is disrupted, attitudes can change, and this change can cost the state expensive, military, and political.  For this reason, the appointment of private military companies, which have gained legal status in the security of the future, and the terms and framework of contracts determined by the states, will prevent the employer from encountering possible bad surprises.

From this point of view, it will not be surprising for states to prefer professional private military companies instead of local untrained proxies. On the other hand, instead of the bulky and multistage dysfunctional armies, the states have now turned to small but professional and task-trained units. Considering the cost-effective solutions they offer, private military companies are structures that can meet these new demands of states.

In addition, considering that commercial units tend to grow continuously, expand, and develop their range of services, it can be assumed that private military companies may add new services to their service areas, such as special intelligence units, special navy, and even special air forces. For example, it provides training and war preparation services with 78 jet fighter inventory of US-based Draken International company. A French-origin company based in the United Arab Emirates bought Mirage-2000 aircraft from Brazil and began providing electronic warfare and tactical training services to the Gulf countries with these aircraft. The examples mentioned above show that the thesis mentioned in the previous section has entered the realization process (Mevlütoğlu, 2020).


The structural transformation of the world economy compelled states to step out of stereotyped state behavior. Thanks to Neo-Liberalism, which was accepted as a global economic model after 1970, states have privatized in almost all areas. In this context, the privatization of the concept of security has also come to the agenda. The concept of security, which started to change and transform after the Cold War, has entered a new definition process after September 11 and has covered new sub-concepts.

 At this stage, private military companies began to emerge in the context of privatization of security, thanks to the interaction of structural transformations in both the economy and security perception.

Especially after 9/11, these companies, whose names were heard more in conflict zones and geographies where the collapsed state structures were concentrated, brought a new dimension to the security discussions as professional personnel and for-profit commercial organizations providing cost-effective security services.

In the process we left behind, two private military companies, Blackwater and Wagner Group, were the most prominent examples in these discussions in terms of the conflicts they took place, the scandals they caused, and their purposes and methods.

Although these companies are the focus of negative criticisms and discussions today, the main assumption of this study is that these companies will be given status within the framework of international legal norms in the near and mid-future and that these companies will play more roles in the future of security. In addition to these, it is assumed that private military companies can offer private intelligence, private navy, and even private aviation services by expanding their fields of activity and service range, based on the tendency of companies to grow, develop and offer new services. In order to base this assumption, the activities of Draken International are given as examples.

As a result; In this study, considering the lack of academic work related to private military companies in the fields of international relations and security; the reasons for emergence, activities, legal status and possible future roles of these companies are discussed. The main purpose of the study is to compensate for the deficiency in the field and to constitute a good starting point for the academic studies to be carried out after it.




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[1]  US Rejects UN Mercenary Report, Washington Post.

[2]  Sözcü Newspaper, “PKK/YPG’ nin Saflarında Savaşan ABD’ nin Paralı Askerleri Deşifre Oldu!” , 2 October 2019.

[3] Milliyet Newspaper, “Blackwater’a PKK Silahları Sorgusu.”, September 2007.

[4] CNN Türk, “Irak’ta Katliam Yapan Blackwater Personeline Hapis Cezası”, 14 April 2015

[5] Aksam Newspaper, “Paralı Askerleri Bağdat’ta Sivilleri Katleden Erik Prince Yeniden Irak'ta.”, April 2019.

[6]  BBC Turkey, “Wagner Grubu: Libya’daki Rus Paralı Askerler Hakkında Neler Biliniyor?”, 7 January 2020


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