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A Message from the President of Defense Industries Prof. İsmail DEMİR on the Measures Taken Against COVID-19 in Turkey

Date: Issue 98 - April 2020

As the Turkish defense industry sector, we continue to perform our activities while complying with the measures taken against Coronavirus (Covid-19) nationwide. While the activities in critical projects continue, work-from-home practices are also being implemented. In such cases, there may be a certain slowdown in every sector, but in the defense industry, we continue our activities without affecting our critical projects. While doing this, we take our precautions believing that human health comes first. The knowhow in the sector and the competence of personnel are important to us. In order to protect their health and ensure their maximum efficiency, we carry on our activities with measures to guarantee their maximum compliance with health guidelines.

In certain projects where force majeure cases arise, we examine the related applications, and if we really consider them as force majeure cases, we take the necessary precautions. Even now, we are exerting all efforts to make sure such force majeure does not occur, and we highlight that we should keep the ball rolling and the system should continue to work on the basis of the subcontractor. In this struggle, we, as the defense industry, both follow the measures taken under the leadership of our President Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN and strain to continue critical defense industry production as well as R&D and technology development activities without any interruption.

Defense is a holistic concept; therefore, the defense of a country cannot be accomplished only through military and armed elements. In addition to the armed forces, areas such as intelligence, transportation, health, communication, information technology, cyber security, energy and agriculture are also crucial in the defense vision. For the security of a country and society, the defense concept needs be tackled with a holistic perspective. Our Turkish defense industry is ready to provide all kinds of support including the knowhow and achievements to the healthcare field. We can make use of our existing knowhow and experience on electronic devices, circuits, imaging and image processing devices, microelectromechanical systems, control systems, materials and material technologies that can be used in medical devices, and chemicals, biology and radiation technologies, also in the healthcare industry.  

The multiple utilization of the defense industry’s existing capabilities was previously brought forward. We own such technologies and we think that they can be easily applied to other fields. The awareness raised will be an opportunity to trigger a national technology movement in the healthcare industry. For the hot topic of ventilation devices for example, defense industry companies have opened their doors and are offering all their capabilities to meet the sub-components of the devices or specific technology needs, and the use of their existing infrastructure, test infrastructure and facilities.

Indigenous and national health technologies are one of the most important elements of the move toward national technology in the long term. Our defense industry sector is ready to support our country’s healthcare industry with all its knowhow, capabilities and infrastructures achieved by means of the R&D activities carried out in TUBITAK and its institutes under the Ministry of Industry and Technology for the purpose of establishing this technology. Our industry will be the supporter of all relevant institutions, especially our Ministry of Health, to this end.

As the Presidency, we believe in the dynamism and enthusiasm of the private sector, and we encourage them through various endeavors. We support companies demonstrating diligence, dynamism and a certain technological infrastructure in times when they need extra backing or long-term planning. When needed, we issue projects and orders in furtherance of a future-focused vision. In some cases, we perform activities aiming at developing multi-utilization technologies. We will have full support here as well, with an approach of supporting various capabilities, backing them, and partnering if necessary, rather than a policy such as maximum involvement of defense industry companies in the healthcare sector. Here, what is important is to determine the level of support specifically for which technology, which company and for which need. We have opened all the cards on the table. For the sake of our country, we are ready to provide any support for the success of the 'National Technology Move'. This can be achieved through our Presidency as well as our defense industry companies. Instead of establishing a healthcare company under the title of a defense industry company, we believe that it will be more effectual to gather with diligent companies in the healthcare industry and work with them.

The public sector especially needs to examine, in particular, domestic capabilities in all kinds of products supplied directly from abroad. It is important also for other sectors to proceed by considering the domestic capabilities here after exploring the opportunities available in different areas. It is important to introduce the products into the market but making it with national and domestic opportunities is even more important for the future of our country. Perhaps we may not achieve the full functionality of the products in the first stage, we may wait a little. In the long term, it is necessary to place great importance to the concept of indigenousness for our future. It is essential for the sectors to communicate with each other, to have a commonly known map of our industry and technology ecosystem, and to take maximum advantage of it in purchases and acquisitions. The Presidency of Defense Industries has achieved this previously on various occasions, and we consider that this model can be an example in other sectors as well.

President of  Defense Industries Prof. İsmail DEMİR