Turkey aims for fully independent defense industry: Erdoğan
Turkey’s main objective is to become fully independent in the defense industry and produce all the necessary equipment and hi-tech systems, including in space technology and cyber defense through national means, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said at the ceremony of the launch of Turkey’s first intelligence ship, TCG Ufuk.
“Our goal is a fully independent Turkey in the defense industry,” Erdoğan said at the ceremony with the participation of Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and senior military officials in the Tuzla district of Istanbul on Jan. 14.
Classified as the Test and Training Ship, the TCG Ufuk (A-591) has been developed and built with national resources and capabilities, Erdoğan said, informing that the intelligence ship will efficiently contribute to efforts by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) in the sea.
Erdoğan said Turkey is currently producing around 70 percent of its needs in the field of the defense industry and is aiming to make it 100 percent, vowing, “We are no longer seeking the direct acquisition of the systems from abroad.”
Recent developments in the past 10 years in Turkey’s region have shown that the countries with independence in the defense industry can protect themselves and secure their future, Erdoğan stated, adding, “Turkey has become a country that sets the rules and breaks the plots in its region. Despite all the embargoes - open or hidden - Turkey could make all the moves essential for its national interests thanks to the progress in the defense industry.”
Turkey’s exports reach $4 billion
Turkey is very active in developing new systems, including high-technological equipment, through national resources, Erdoğan said, informing that Turkey’s exports of the defense industry and aerospace products are expected to exceed $4 billion at the end of this year.
“In our country’s shipyards, besides our own needs, ships and boats are built for all over the world. Hopefully, we will get new good news on this subject in the near future. Now let’s go one step further. Up until now, we have been importing vertical launch systems, which are the main weapon group of our frigates, and we now produce them nationally,” he stated.
Erdoğan reiterated that Turkey is now concentrated on complex systems, saying, “On the other hand, our eyes are in space. Our work on launch and satellite systems continues in the space field.”
For his part, Akar described Turkey as one of the most important countries in the market of defense industry but admitted that there is more to do. “Our objective, under your [Erdoğan] leadership and with your support, is to further increase the level of our independence from the current 80 percent and to become one of the strongest nations in the defense industry,” he said.