Turkey invites ‘friendly’ countries to collaborate in defense sector
The head of Turkey’s top defense body, Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) chief Ismail Demir on Tuesday called on “friendly and allied” countries to cooperate with Turkey in meeting their defense industry and security needs.
Demir was speaking at the SEDEC 2022 security and defense fair, which was organized to create an export bridge for industrialists operating in the homeland security and defense supply chain sectors.
He said that the Turkish defense industry continues to work effectively to meet the needs of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and security units, from design to mass production, research and development (R&D) and innovation to industrialization, all under the coordination of the SSB.
Demir pointed out that the development of the Turkish defense industry in recent years has enabled the platforms, systems and capabilities of companies in many fields to attract demand from foreign markets, adding that the SSB attaches great importance to developing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and subindustries, which are among the lifeblood of the sector and produce high added value.
The SSB works to ensure that the critical components of the systems in the defense sector are produced domestically, he said.
Expressing that Turkey has evolved being foreign-dependent to self-sufficient as it continues to develop and export its technologies, Demir told attendees that “if your security systems, defense systems and technologies are externally dependent, you may be unable to defend your own interests or you may have to act to defend the interests of others instead of defending your own interests.”
“We are self-sufficient. With our human resources, our financial resources, and the synergy we will create by working together, we will have a structure that does not leave decisions about our interests to the will of others,” he said.
The SSB head stated the number of projects in the Turkish defense industry has grown from 60 to over 750 in approximately 20 years, with project budgets now approaching $70 billion in comparison to only $5.5 billion.
Drawing attention to the importance of sustainability in the sector and working with friendly countries, Demir said Turkey is very “open to our friendly country representatives to work with us on defense industry issues.”
“This is the method of using our limited resources effectively and getting very productive results,” said Demir.
He further added that Turkey does not intend to impose “meaningless” restrictions, “as many other countries do,” but acknowledged that “of course, there should be controlled production and sale of the (defense) products.”
Also speaking at the event, Osman Okyay, chairperson of the board of directors of the Defense and Aviation Industry Manufacturers Association (SASAD), explained that they are proud to be one of the world’s leading manufacturers thanks to the vision set forth in the field of defense and the will to realize it.
Pointing out that hundreds of projects have been realized in the defense industry, where foreign dependency has decreased and production is carried out with domestic resources, Okyay said, “One of the most important criteria of our success on a global scale is the total sectoral exports exceeding $3 billion that we achieved last year. Our target is to increase this figure to $4 billion this year and to continuously improve it.”
He emphasized that SASAD aims to support all elements operating in the field of defense, especially member companies.
“We continue to promote the products of our industry through collaborations we have developed with various countries, and to organize events in line with common goals and objectives. We aim to further strengthen SASAD’s strategic position in the coming period and to make it more beneficial to our industry,” Okyay said.
Teknopark Ankara chairperson of the board of directors, Hasan Gültekin, also stated that due to Turkey’s geographical location, border and homeland security are of particular importance.
Turkey has recently developed successful domestic and national products in this field, Gültekin said, adding: “We see that countries that were hesitant to buy products from Turkey in the past are now lining up.”
SEDEC coordinator Hilal Ünal, for her part, noted that the event focused on border and homeland security is being held for the third time this year, bringing together national and international players.
Ünal stated that suppliers and authorities from 51 countries will meet with the main and subcontractors of the sector at the event.