An Overview from, Mrs. Tuija Karanko, Secretary General of AFDA (Association of Finnish Defence and

Turkish Finnish Defence Industry event was held in Ankara. Within the light of this event, Mrs. Tuija Karanko, Secretary Gene

Date: Issue 22 - September 2010

DT: Mrs. Karanko, First of all What are the main characteristics, core products and capabilities of the Finnish Defence Industries?

Karanko:Maybe the best words to describe Finnish defence industry are high technology and niche expertise. Our companies are well known for high competence, quality and innovation. We are global players within armoured wheeled vehicles, communications solutions and logistics, CBRN, turreted mortar systems and specialized structures. In addition to these the key capacities of the Finnish defence industries also include special vehicles, munitions and command and battlespace management systems.

Finnish defence companies are networked domestically and internationally. Our members work in close cooperation with the Finnish Defence Forces and the scientific community. Our companies employ approximately 8200 personnel in Finland with an annual turnover about 1,3 billion Euros. Most of our member companies are privately and nationally owned. Even though the sector is not as big as in some other countries, the Finnish Defence industries are of high technical level and play an important part in the upholding and development of the Finnish Defence Forces.

DT:Finnish- Turkish Defence Industry meeting was held in Ankara. How do you assess this event in terms of establishing new opportunities between 2 countries? What are the conclusion and decision taken in the meeting held between AFDA and Turkish officials?

Karanko:Our visit to Ankara was very successful. There were nine Finnish companies present and they were all able to establish contacts with relevant Turkish partners. There are many interesting projects going on in both our countries and I believe that closer cooperation between our companies would benefit all involved.

We had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Murad Bayar, Undersecretary for Defence Industries. During our meeting it became clear to me that the administration shares our views on the possibilities of enhanced cooperation between our countries and industries.

DT: What is your strategy and short and long term plans for coming years to strengthen the defence industry cooperation between Turkey and Finnish Defence Industry?

Karanko: In my mind there are at least two possibilities. First of all there are, as I already mentioned, many interesting projects in our countries going on right now. By finding the right local partners our companies could provide even better solutions to meet the need of our domestic customers. Another thing is to bring in the competences of the industries from both the countries and act together on third markets. This is more of a long term plan but surely of interest to the industry.

DT: As it is known that Aselsan is a strong candidate to carry out Leopard Modernisation Project for Finnish Army. Environics, Patria and other Finnish companies have been working in Turkish Market. What sorts of business opportunities could be considered for the Turkish and Finnish companies to provide common and mutual interest with each other?

Karanko:It is important to bring together the possible programmes in both countries and the capabilities of the industries. I think that as the first step the companies need to find each other and a common ground of interest.

DT: Can it be considered that Turkish Defence Industry will be the team player of Finnish Defence companies to reach the markets around Turkey such as Turkic Republics, Central Asia or Middle East?

Karanko: Yes definitely. I believe that this is a good and desirable goal for both the Turkish and Finnish industry.

DT: Would you like to give some additional information and messages for our readers?

Karanko:I would like to emphasize the importance of collaborative projects and networking. As we all know only a few countries and companies can afford development of new technologies and capabilities alone. Cooperation is the answer and I believe that those players who make real effort in finding the best partners for themselves will be the most successful ones.

We are planning on a Turkish – Finnish Industry Seminar for next year with the support from our Ministry of Defence. I truly hope that we could develop our cooperation even further in the coming years.

Last I would sincerely like to thank all you Turkish colleagues for your hospitality and kindness during our visit to Ankara!