'Türkiye to continue to strive to become fully independent in defense' - M5 Dergi
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‘Türkiye to continue to strive to become fully independent in defense’

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Türkiye will continue to strive to make its defense industry fully independent, as he addressed supporters of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) as part of the municipal election campaign in the Çankırı province.

“We will not stop or turn back from our path until we achieve the goal of a fully independent Türkiye in the defense industry,” Erdoğan said.

Erdoğan also said that KAAN, Türkiye’s homegrown fighter aircraft, will be delivered in 2028, adding that KAAN will protect “our skies” from this date onwards.

He further said that Türkiye has begun preparations to build “an even larger aircraft carrier following the TCG Anadolu.”

Erdoğan said that there is no safe place for terrorist groups, further adding that Ankara detects terrorists beyond the country’s borders, around 300-350 kilometers (186-217 miles) away, and “neutralize” them “when they least expect it.”

Türkiye is celebrating its centenary encouraged by the profound transformation it has achieved in its defense industry, marked by hundreds of domestically produced weapons systems and a range of homegrown air, land and marine platforms.

In strategic geography where conflicts have been witnessed through the ages, Türkiye has always needed high-level defense products to protect itself. However, due to strained relations with some countries over disagreements, it has been facing some embargoes or difficulties in obtaining these systems.

In 1985, the country established the Defense Industry Development and Support Administration, which later became the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), amid arms embargoes related to its peace operation in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC).

The years 1985-2004 are considered to be the founding period of the Turkish defense industry when defense companies started with assembly as subcontractors in order to close the gap between trained manpower and technology after infrastructure investments.

The Turkish Armed Forces Foundation (TAFF) was established during this period and Aselsan, Havelsan, TAI, Işbir, Aspi̇lsan and Roketsan, which were established in 1988 under the roof of TAFF, became the driving force of the defense industry.

Especially in the last decade, the country has gained significant ground in the defense field thanks to the increasing number of domestic defense companies.

While the country’s defense imports decreased largely, the country became an exporter of some products, such that four Turkish defense giants – Aselsan, Roketsan, TAI and Asfat – entered the top defense exporters list of the U.S.-based Defense News.

The transformation drive has eventually helped lower Türkiye’s foreign dependency on defense from around 80% in the early 2000s to some 20% today.

The capabilities of its vehicles, spearheaded by combat drones, triggered unprecedented demand that saw Türkiye seal billions of dollars worth of export deals in recent years.

Exports hit a record of nearly $4.5 billion in 2022, and Presiden Erdoğan sees them hitting another all-time high of over $6 billion.

Source: Daily Sabah

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