British defense giant confident about Turkish economy
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
AP photoTurkey can be stronger than ever with the government’s actions to strengthen the economy, according to the head of British defense giant BAE Systems, which recently signed a $125 million deal with a Turkish company.
“Current and potential future steps from the Government to strengthen the economy and attract more international investments may create new opportunities,” CEO Ian King told state-run Anadolu Agency via an e-mail interview on Feb. 1.
Noting the company’s utmost confidence in Turkey since the beginning, King said he believed Turkey had the capacity to be much stronger.
“BAE Systems has always been positive about Turkey and it is still so. Turkey can be stronger than ever,” he said.
King’s comments came after the signing of a $125 million agreement between Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) and BAE Systems to collaborate on the pre-design phase of Turkey’s new fighter jet, the TF-X, during British Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to Ankara last week.
King said the Turkish government’s goal was to become a net defense exporter and to rid the country’s defense industry of foreign dependency by 2023.
“Turkey’s defense industry has made great progress in recent years and President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan’s sights are set on the centenary of the modern Turkish republic’s foundation,” he said.
King added that Turkey’s defense exports rose 18 percent in 2014 to $1.65 billion, with a total defense budget of $19.6 billion plus a commitment to maintain spending levels at or above 2 percent GDP to stand among the top countries for defense spend.
King pointed out that BAE Systems had a successful industrial partnership in the land sector in Turkey through a local defense company, FNSS Savunma Sistemleri (FNSS), where Turkey’s Nurol Holding had 51 percent shareholding.
“FNSS is a long established joint venture and is now a leading Turkish exporter of armored vehicles,” he said, adding BAE had a “significant installed base” in Turkey including naval radars, naval gun systems, torpedoes, avionics and armored combat vehicles.
“We have recently established an aerospace joint venture, BNA, with Nurol Holding in order to develop its aerospace capability in Turkey and to support the Turkish objective to develop indigenous capability,” he added.
King also stated that BAE Systems and another Turkish company, Fotoniks, were collaborating on the development and in-region delivery of aircraft display systems.
“As part of the agreement, Fotoniks will work to integrate BAE Systems’ LiteHUD Head-Up Display (HUD) into the HUD system for the Hürkuş basic training aircraft,” he said.
“The two companies are further developing the HUD system at the Fotoniks facility in Ankara for the local and regional market,” he added.
Hürkuş is Turkey’s primary and basic training aircraft project named after Vecihi Hürkuş - one of the most famous Turkish pilots in Turkish aviation history.