Türkiye’s defense and aviation industry has outpaced its earlier annual export record. It is now left with a month to build on what is about to go into history as a new milestone.
Shipments rose by more than a third from January through November to $4.8 billion (TL 138.72 billion), according to Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM) data.
The capabilities of Türkiye’s vehicles, spearheaded by its combat drones, triggered unprecedented demand that saw its defense exports peak at more than $4.4 billion in 2022.
The 12-month rolling sales have reached $5.5 billion, according to the TIM data, bringing the figure closer to the $6 billion that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said they hope to achieve this year.
The figure is aimed to be lifted above $10 billion in the near future, the officials have said.
“With our defense industry initiatives, our exports are increasing exponentially. Our goal this year is to surpass $6 billion,” Erdoğan said in late September, as he cited exponential growth from just $248 million more than two decades ago.
The ground covered since 2002 has reached a level where Türkiye exports more than 230 defense products to about 170 countries.
Its aviation industry is one of the key builders of aircraft structures and equipment, and a provider of maintenance-repair services for the world’s leading platform manufacturers.
The profound transformation in Türkiye’s defense industry has been spurred by a score of Western embargoes.
Over the last 20 years, the transformation has aimed at reducing external dependency on Western arms through innovative engineering initiatives and domestically developed technologies.
The drive 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 some 20% today.