Türkiye showcases defense might in major int'l military exercise - M5 Dergi
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Türkiye showcases defense might in major int’l military exercise

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Hosting a major military drill that saw the participation of approximately 11,000 personnel from some 45 countries, Türkiye Thursday once again showcased the advancements of its prosperous defense sector among peers in the western Izmir province.

Held in Izmir’s Seferhisar district, with the attendance of top officials including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and National Defense Minister Yaşar Güler, the Efes-2024 military exercise gathered numerous institutions and organizations, members of leading defense companies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), members of General Staff, Land Forces Command, Naval Forces Command, Air Forces Command, General Staff Special Forces Command and Gendarmerie General Command, among others.

“We have the opportunity to use the new domestic systems that have entered the inventory in the Efes-2024 exercise,” Erdoğan said in an address to the military during the exercise, further stating that 33 new systems will be tested for the first time.

The president also highlighted Türkiye’s growing defense industry, citing some of the country’s advancements in the field, including its multipurpose amphibious assault ship TCG Anadolu – present during the drill, unmanned fighter jet Kızılelma and its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

“We are a country that strives to develop its relations, including the defense industry, with a win-win approach. We were pleased to share the capabilities we have in the field of defense industry with friendly and allied countries,” Erdoğan noted.

“Last year, we reached $5.5 billion in defense exports with 230 types of products sent to 185 countries and we signed new contracts worth $10.24 billion,” he said.

Erdoğan emphasized that the defense industry products, weapons, vehicles and systems exhibited in the exercise program reveal the point Türkiye has reached.

Years of investments have fueled a profound transformation in Türkiye’s defense industry over the last two decades, spurred by a score of Western embargoes. The drive has aimed at reducing external dependency on Western arms through innovative engineering initiatives and domestically developed technologies.

Visitors and participants are following the sailing of the assault ship during the Efes-2024 drill, Izmir, western Türkiye, May 30, 2024. (AA Photo)
Visitors and participants are following the sailing of the assault ship during the Efes-2024 drill, Izmir, western Türkiye, May 30, 2024. (AA Photo)

It prompted the development of a range of homegrown air, land and marine platforms, eventually helping lower Türkiye’s foreign dependency on defense from around 80% in the early 2000s to about 20% today.

The president said Thursday that owing to steps taken in the defense industry, Türkiye has positioned itself as an indispensable actor in the region, recalling that the number of projects undertaken surged from only 62 in 2002 to thousands nowadays.

“While defense projects with a budget of approximately $5.5 billion were carried out in 2002, the volume of current projects has exceeded $96 billion,” he said.

“We are among the 10 countries that can design, build and maintain their own warships. We are among the top 3-4 countries in the world in UAV production,” he added.

Some of the products developed within the scope of domestic capabilities, such as the Atak helicopter, Korkut air defense system and TCG Anadolu ship, took part in the demonstrations during the exercise, the night before and on Thursday.

The Efes-2024 exercise also saw the participation of military personnel from dozens of countries, including Germany, the U.S., Albania, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, United Arab Emirates (UAE), United Kingdom, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, France, Gambia, Guinea, Georgia, Italy, Cameroon, Qatar and Kazakhstan, among others.

Source: Daily Sabah

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