President praises Turkish defense industry, pledges more support.
The Turkish president on Thursday vowed to further boost the country’s defense industry.
“We can never tolerate procuring [defense-related] products from abroad when we can produce them ourselves,” said Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the inauguration ceremony of a new facility for Turkish defense giant Aselsan.
“We will continue to provide all kinds of support to the defense industry,” Erdogan added.
Turkey’s top priority is to use “the resources we have to develop and strengthen our own defense industry,” he said. Erdogan urged Turkish companies and professionals to put in their best efforts to support the sector.
“The defense industry of the world has a locomotive role in the development of all other technologies,” he said, adding any investment in the industry would contribute to the development of the country.
“If we have a serious current account deficit today, the role of the defense industry in minimizing this deficit cannot be denied,” he added.
Despite hurdles created by global suppliers, Erdogan said Turkey came out stronger than before by relying on its own strength.
He said that from 62 defense projects in 2002, the figure has grown to 700.
The Turkish president noted that Turkey increased the budget for its defense projects from $5.5 billion to $60 billion. “Again in this period, the number of companies operating in the sector increased from 56 to 1,500,” Erdogan added. The industry turnover increased from $1 billion to $11 billion, according to Erdogan.
“Our defense and aviation [sectors] exports increased from $248 million to $3 billion,” he said.
- Self sufficient and helping others Turkey is not only self-sufficient in meeting its defense needs, but also helps allies, Erdogan added.
“We are among the only 10 countries who can design, build and maintain their own warship,” he said.
Turkey can comfortably conduct counter-terrorism operations within its borders as well as peace operations beyond borders, he said.
Turkey ranks among the top three or four when it comes to manufacturing drones, combat drones and tactical drones, he said.
“We owe all this to the progress we have achieved in the defense industry,” he said.
“We continue to implement systems that require high technology by increasing our research and development investments,” Erdogan noted.
Referring to an embargo by the Canadian government against Turkey due to Turkish support to Azerbaijan, Erdogan said it led Turkey to produce certain parts locally.
Last month, Canada announced it suspended exporting some defense products to Turkey over an allegation that the "Canadian technology is used in the military conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh."
Erdogan said Turkey has seven companies among the top 100 defense firms of the world. He added that five of those companies entered the list in the last five years.
Especially in recent years, Turkish companies have attracted growing popularity with drones and helicopters, vessels, armored cars, electronic devices, weapons, and weapon parts.