TSKK 5th Project Market Takes Place in Ankara

The fifth ODTÜ Teknokent Defense Industry Cluster (TSSK) Project Market was held in Ankara under the auspices of the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, organized with the cooperation of Middle East Technical University (METU), ODTÜ Teknokent, Ankara Chamber of Industry and Defense Industry Manufacturers’ Association (SaSaD) and with the participation and support of defense industry main contractors and supported by TÜBİTAK (Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey) and KOSGEB (Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organization).

A total of 44 companies and 3 Research Institutes of Universities attended with the booth level at the 5th Project Market where the products and capabilities of the companies operating under the roof of the TSSK.

TSSK Chairman of the Board Mr. Fatih Ünal: “The export performance of TSSK companies reached $135 million”

In his speech at the opening ceremony of the event held at METU Cultural and Convention Center, TSSK Chairman of the Board Mr. Fatih Ünal mentioned that the Cluster has attained 124 members, and with the 2100 R&D staff employed at these companies focused on defense and aerospace activities, the TSSK member companies’ export performance exceeded $135 million last year, adding that its total turnover reached 1.4 billion TL. Underlining that the main objective of the TSSK Cluster is innovation and development of R&D, Mr. Ünal said, “We especially aim to render the university - industry and industry - industry cooperation more effective.”

Stating that this year they are realizing the fifth project market event, Mr. Ünal stated that they aim to create an atmosphere where the major players and minor shareholders could seize the opportunity to closely examine the requirements, capabilities and products of each other. Mr.  Ünal: “Our companies under the roof of the TSSK have been focused on fulfilling the critical technology requests of our major industry companies and our country while providing cost efficient products which are competitive in the international markets to our companies and acquiring for our country the products subject to ITAR on which we have foreign dependency. With the help of this event, enabling effective negotiations and new cooperation between our companies will be possible.”

ASO President Mr. Nurettin Özdebir: “Ankara is the city conducting the most precious production in Turkey with its export price of 23 USD/kg”

President of the Ankara Chamber of Industry (ASO) Mr. Nurettin Özdebir underlined that in order to achieve the determined economic goals, Turkey needs to leap from the medium technology segment to the high technology segment and pointed out that the most critical city in the country able to achieve this goal is Ankara.

Noting that 13 organized industrial zones composed of 7 zones in operation and 6 zones under production stage are located in Ankara, Mr. Özdebir underlined that 14% of the companies making advance technology utility model registration, 15% of the companies conducting R&D activities, 13% of the companies executing high technology production and 28% of the R&D engineers are located in Ankara. Stressing the fact that Ankara alone hosts 30% of the high technology investments, Mr. Özdebir continued, “With its export price of 23 USDs/ kg, Ankara is the city conducting the most precious production in Turkey. 34% of the production conducted in manufacturing industry of Ankara is composed of high and medium technology and within this scope, Ankara is the leader in high technology production. Besides, Ankara has been hosting four of the 10 research universities and institutes. This may gain great momentum to Ankara’s industry in the medium and long run. If the correct mechanisms are designed, the cooperation between the university and the industry, which could not be fully built until now, may be achieved in real sense. One of the areas in which Ankara is most powerful in respect of high technology is the defense industry. The most popular defense industry companies also including software are located in Ankara. This bears great importance not only considering the independence and security of our country but also concerning the global competitive power of our economy. Due to the geopolitical and geo-strategic position of our country, the development level of the defense industry is of vital importance. The defense industry plays a leading role in technological developments. Many products utilized today in our daily lives have been developed on account of the defense industry. The companies operating in Ankara are focused more on high technology areas compared with both Turkey’s average and other developed economical regions. The impact of the leading associations of our defense industry in Ankara’s relatively advanced stance in technological development could not be dismissed. So far, these associations assumed the role of an academy for our sub-industry. OSTIM (Middle East Trade and Industry Center) being in the first place, numerous SMEs that are the members of ASO seized the opportunity to improve themselves by providing end products and bulk products for our defense industry. However, despite all these positive developments, our domestic industry and the potential of Ankara should be developed further in fulfilling the demands of our armed forces.” 

Vice President of the Small and Medium Industry Development Organization Mr. Salih Tuna Şahin: “95% of Turkey’s exports are composed of industrial products and 60% of the products we export are composed of imported input material”

Vice President of the Small and Medium Industry Development Organization (KOSGEB) Mr. Salih Tuna Şahin stated that KOSGEB’s main objective is to increase the competitiveness of the SMEs and achieving their integration with the industry and continued: “As part of this main objective, through 10 different support programs KOSGEB has been providing support to SMEs with various financing models, laboratory studies, information and cooperation activities. Similar to many other institutions, KOSGEB has been conducting its activities while reviewing its activities and the support it gives in certain periods in order to restructure itself in accordance with the contemporary conditions. Within this context, we have determined a new vision and model for our organization. Our new vision and new model in this period stands over 10 foundations. These foundations are; granting support to the products which will decrease the current deficit, extending the high technology through domestic and national SMEs, taking the companies that manufacture high level of added value into the scope of SMEs, generating support models specific to the industry, developing new financing models, developing thematic business incubators, building cooperation between major businesses and minor businesses, establishing the infrastructure for the required researches by building the SME and entrepreneurship institute and acquiring the SMEs the competency assessment system for building this projected model revision over concrete foundations.”

Summarizing the focal point of the activities conducted within this scope as technological innovation or development, technology based entrepreneurship, rendering SMEs as international brands, increasing the scales, added value production and competitive SME companies, Mr. Şahin said, “95% of our country’s exports are composed of industrial products. Then again, 60% of the industrial products we export are composed of the input material we imported. Among the products we import, there are products which could be easily manufactured by our SMEs. On the other hand, there are also products that could be manufactured practically in our country with certain support mechanisms. Taking these into consideration, instead of providing general support to the SMEs, we developed two different support models that will enable the production of technological products, reduce foreign dependency and support domestic and national production. In both models, by supporting privileged and crucial investment projects, we are offering a comprehensive service. The related parties provided critical contribution to our organization in the preparation and implementation of these programs. For their continuous support and cooperation as part of these programs, once again I would like to thank the related parties firstly to SSM, Havelsan, TOBB, TÜSİAD, MÜSİAD, TIM, TAI and SaSaD and our shareholders.”

Mr. Şahin: “Through Technological Investment Support Program, we support investment in technological products with completed prototype phases in priority industries. The limit of our support per each project is 5 million Turkish Liras”

Expressing that the first program they launched was the “Technological Investment Support Program”, Mr. Şahin continued: “As part of this support program, with the investment projects, we aim to commercialize the products emerging as a result of the R&D activities in priority technology areas, acquiring more added value to our country’s economy, and increasing the export of the technological products in the international markets. We support the investment in technological products with completed prototype stages within the priority industries. The limit of the support is 5 million TL per each project and the duration of the project is 36 months. At this point, in respect to the machinery and equipment and software costs that compose the most critical item of the investment projects, we are providing supports that reach 100%”.

Mr. Şahin: “Today we will sign the protocol on the Strategic Product Development Program with ODTÜ Teknokent” 

Underlining that reducing the current deficit is one of the most critical issues, Mr. Şahin stated that through developing the technological production capabilities of SME companies, indigenization of strategic products with high import levels and utilization of more domestic inputs are aimed. Şahin: “To this end, we launched the ‘Strategic Product Support Program’ as the second program. Within the scope of this program, we wish our SMEs to cooperate with the buyer shareholders and major businesses and to this end we aim for the indigenization of strategic products with high import level, utilization of more domestic inputs in production, development of technological production capabilities of the SMEs and extending the technology. Again, as part of this program, our support maximum limit is 5 million TL per business and the duration of the project is 36 months. Within this context, we sign a strategic product support program protocol with ODTÜ Teknokent. With the cooperation protocol that we will sign, we aim to allow our companies in METU Teknokent to benefit more from the KOSGEB support and from the support programs particularly based on investments.”

Deputy Undersecretary for Defense Industries Dr. Celal Sami Tüfekçi: “With the EYDEP program, we are setting up a mechanism that will create the measures and support to increase the technological and production competence of our SMEs” 

Deputy Undersecretary for Defense Industries Dr. Celal Sami Tüfekçi underlined that Turkey made its choice in the defense industry area and became a country developing its own independent technology, adding that Turkey left its understanding of being dependent to other countries and constantly searching for the approval behind. Dr. Celal Sami Tüfekçi continued: “Yet, making this choice is not sufficient alone. We must take big steps that will strengthen this choice in the upcoming process. While making new investments in the defense industry, a country needs to develop the technologies that will serve such investments.” 

Stating that they act in line with the deductive method to achieve technological competence, Dr. Tüfekçi stated that they proceed towards material technologies from additive manufacturing processes with a multi-layered understanding. Dr. Tüfekçi underlined that there is an industrial aspect of the issue as well as the technology dimension and added: “There are SME companies of different scales in many other clusters as well as the TSSK cluster. Until now, while we assessed the competence of these companies with the evaluations of the major main contractors, as the Undersecretariat we rather used to conduct the contract management at the office. But from now on, we decided that it is time to leave the office and try to better understand the difficulties our SMEs have been going through regarding the defense industry and we should generate solutions for these problems. To this end, we launched the Industrial Competence Assessment and Support Program which we shortly refer to as EYDEP. Nowadays, in order to conduct this program, supervisors not only monitor these companies but also work on ways to support these companies under the auspices of our Undersecretariat. Yet, we are aware of the fact that in the end our Undersecretariat is a governmental institution, thus we wish EYDEP to be transformed into a more independent platform, finding its own identity. We truly wish this journey that started in the defense industry to serve other areas of the industry since industrial competence is the area in which our industrialists from every industry face the most difficulties. With the EYDEP program, we would like these companies to become subcontractors that will be among the medium and large-scale companies to provide smart subsystems to our foundation companies in the defense industry. I believe that we will achieve this in the near future and that EYDEP will play a major role in this.”

METU President Prof. Mustafa Verşan Kök expressed that ODTÜ Teknokent host over 100 defense industry companies and added that it becomes an eco-system where technologies strategic for our country are developed. Kök: “We are aware of the fact that the development of our country depends on the development of domestic and national technologies and we have been conducting numerous activities and programs to this end. Within this context, we will be signing a crucial cooperation today. By signing the cooperation protocol as part of the KOSGEB Strategic Product Support Program, we will have established a new channel for supporting the development of the strategic technologies at ODTÜ Teknokent. I would also like to express my gratitude to the President of KOSGEB for such support. Presently, under the auspices of the Undersecretariat, the 5th project market event organized with the cooperation of METU, ODTÜ Teknokent, ASO, SaSaD and with the support of TÜBİTAK and Ministry of Economy, is of great importance in respect to creating an atmosphere for the main contractors of the industry to reveal their expectations and targets and allowing the opportunity for the research institutes and SMEs to share their capabilities. I believe that this year we will build productive cooperation and improve the existing relations, similar to previous years. I would like to thank all our institutions for their support in this important event and to everybody for their contributions, and to the employers of ODTÜ Teknokent.”

Following the opening remarks, in respect to unique production of intermediate goods with high import potential and with the quality of strategic products, a cooperation protocol was signed between KOSGEB and METU.  The protocol was signed by METU President Prof. Mustafa Verşan Kök and KOSGEB President Prof. Cevahir Uzkurt.

During the second half of the day, companies provided further details regarding their projects via various presentations in two different halls.