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BMC’s Karasu Facilities in Sakarya was Launched with a Spectacular Groundbreaking Ceremony

One of Turkey’s leading commercial and military vehicles manufacturer with over 50 years of established history, and exports to 80 countries, with vehicle production exceeding 300 thousand units since its foundation, BMC announced their future projects that will shape the next 50 years of Turkey at the ‘Next 50 Years’ meeting held at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Sakarya Karasu Factory on January 13, 2019

When the BMC Production and Technology Base, which will be built on an area of 2.2 million m² with an investment amounting to US$500 million, becomes fully operational, the facility is expected to provide jobs for 10,000 people and to create US$5 billion added value for the Turkish economy.

President Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN, Vice President Fuat OKTAY, Minister of Interior Süleyman SOYLU, Minister of National Defence Hulusi AKAR, Minister of Industry and Technology Mustafa VARANK, Minister of Trade Ruhsar PEKCAN, Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Mehmet Cahit TURHAN, Presidential Spokesman İbrahim KALIN and President of Defence Industries Prof. Dr. İsmail DEMİR as well as high-level bureaucrats and prominent representatives of the business world attended the ceremony. During the program, the participants also witnessed the Commissioning Ceremony of the Advanced Technology Production Line at the modernized BMC İzmir Pınarbaşı Factory through a live video connection. The BMC İzmir Pınarbaşı Factory with approximately 2,700 employees was established on an area of 213,000 m² including a 100,000 m² closed area.  The AMAZON Unmanned Military Land Vehicle developed by BMC and BMC TUĞRA, a high-tech truck and tractor family, was also introduced at the meeting. In addition, a 600bhp indigenous vehicle engine test was broadcasted live from the Istanbul Technical University (ITU) Test Laboratory and General Manager of BMC Power Osman DUR shared information about the ongoing engine projects.

Accomplishing significant breakthroughs with its expertise in defence and commercial vehicles during the 5 years following privatization in 2014, BMC with 3,000 employees, today, has a diverse portfolio of various products in the fields of military armored vehicles, tactical and logistic vehicles, tanks, buses, commercial vehicles, and rail systems as well as land & air platform engines and transmissions.

Member of BMC Executive Board Taha Yasin ÖZTÜRK: “Our annual export target in 2023 is US$1 Billion”

Member of BMC Executive Board Taha Yasin ÖZTÜRK stated in his speech that he witnessed a historic day for Turkey and said: “With the support of our President and his great vision, we take one of the most important steps of our journey to create a national and domestic industry which has been continuing successfully for 17 years in our country. Established in 1964 and has become a valuable brand with its exports to 80 countries in addition to the products it offered to our country so far, BMC, since 2014, has had a strategic partnership between Turkey and Qatar and it continues to grow, with local and national engineering, and is on its way to becoming a world brand.”

Stating that they have reached a point where they can proudly express their activities today managing the approximately US$1 Billion worth of investments and working capital of BMC, which was purchased by the Turkish and Qatari partnership for around US$360 Million, in accordance with a 10-year detailed business plan, ÖZTÜRK continued as follows: “Today, we serve our nation and world countries with our 3,000 personnel and a diverse portfolio of various products in the fields of military armored vehicles, tactical and logistic vehicles, tanks, buses, commercial vehicles, and rail systems as well as land & air platform engines and transmissions. Our growing dreams no longer fit in our existing facilities. Here in Sakarya Karasu, we are breaking ground on the BMC Production and Technology Base, which will be built on an area of 2.2 million m² and reach a total area of 500,000 m² in phases, in order to build the next 50 years in accordance with the vision and targets set by our President and to serve various countries in the world, notably Turkey and Qatar with national and domestic engineering and manufacturing capabilities. When our Production and Technology base is completed by 2023, it will provide employment for approximately 10,000 people with all of its activities and will generate an annual value of US$5 Billion for the economy of our country. Our annual export target will be around US$1 Billion. The first phase of our facility, which will be laid today, covers about 100,000 m². It will be completed by the end of 2019 with very intensive work and will become operational at the beginning of 2020.”

ÖZTÜRK stated that Turkey’s first indigenous engine is ready after 5 years of studies carried out in İzmir, BMC’s new legend among trucks and trailers, TUĞRA, is on the roads to carry Turkey’s heavy loads, and they are progressing on the planning of rail systems, national and domestic high-speed train and subway projects. ÖZTÜRK also shared that Turkey’s indigenously designed third-generation Main Battle Tank ALTAY Serial Production Project came to life and said: “We are in the presence of our nation with a remarkable development, such as Turkey’s First Indigenous Car Project.” Reminding the audience of the words of President ERDOĞAN “We need to be able to produce unmanned tanks” ÖZTÜRK stated that unmanned tank is among their goals and introduced Turkey’s first unmanned land vehicle AMAZON. ÖZTÜRK thanked President ERDOĞAN as well as the participants of the meeting and completed his words by saying: “There is no rest for the weary. Working harder every day for our country and nation, we will continue to carry this national flag with pride, honor and success, thanks to your support.

Minister of National Defence Hulusi AKAR: “The Rate of Localization which was 20% in 2002 Reached 68% Today”

In his speech at the ceremony, Minister of National Defence Hulusi AKAR underlined that localization and nationalization are no longer a choice for our country, but an indispensable necessity for our survival. Minister AKAR: “Turkey, to survive in this region, is bound to be deterrent, powerful and successful with its own weapons. Just as geography is fate, Turkey is also the fate of this geography. Since we could not produce our main battle tanks and artillery systems with national resources, we waited for years to buy from abroad. Therefore, we have started to take measures with our own means today. We will accomplish weapons and equipment projects for modern warfare without depending on the technologies of foreign companies. We continue to work intensively on the steady road to localization and nationalization.”

Minister AKAR made the following comments in the last part of his speech: “The increase of the localization and nationalization rate, which was 20% in 2002, to 68% today clearly indicates the success of our studies. Our primary goal in this respect is to develop advanced technologies with our own possibilities and capabilities. It is imperative and necessary to increase the effective and efficient use of country resources in order to meet the needs of the Turkish Armed Forces in a timely manner. The management of the 1st Main Maintenance Center in Arifiye should be evaluated within this scope. Current investments and such investments to be made in the region will also contribute significantly to employment.”

Minister of Industry and Technology Mustafa VARANK: “700 Domestic Patent Applications were made in the Sector in 16 Years”

Minister of Industry and Technology Mustafa VARANK stated at the BMC Production and Technology Base produce value-added products with domestic and national capabilities, from commercial vehicles to ALTAY tanks, from engines to rail systems. VARANK stated that when these products enter the world market, they will provide a significant contribution to Turkey’s prestige in terms of production quality. “These things require very serious vision and dedication. We can clearly see how the vision and economic policies of our President contributed to our country for 16 years. Our current R&D ecosystem became a reality thanks to our production capabilities and goal & solution-oriented approach to the economy.

Underlining that 700 domestic patent applications were made in the Sector in 16 Years, 63% of which were applied for in the last 5 years, VARANK stated that all of their efforts are shaped by the “Fully Independent Turkish Defence Industry” vision of the President Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN. VARANK emphasized, “Our goal is not to become subcontractors to the international defence industry producers, but to make our domestic and national defence industry a global brand.” and said: “We follow each stage studiously from strategy to design, infrastructure establishment to technology development, and prototype to commercialization. We use every means available for the projects that will bring technological superiority to our country and bring production and test infrastructures to our country. I was in Eskisehir 10 days ago. We attended the inauguration ceremony at TEI for the Test Cells of the T700 turboshaft engines to be used on the Turkish Black Hawk (T70) helicopters. Hence, T700 turboshaft engines with a localization rate above 60% can be produced and exported, and it will be possible to carry out the production tests of these engines in our country. Also, in Eskişehir, we conducted the test of TS1400, the first national helicopter engine designed by our own engineers which will power the GÖKBEY helicopter named by our President. Mentioning the investor-friendly Industrial Zones Law, VARANK noted that the area where the foundation is laid is declared as the Karasu Individual Investment site on behalf of BMC and made the following statements: “We provided project-based incentives to this integrated facility for the production of rail systems, armored vehicles, various road vehicles, defence industry systems, diesel engines, and sub-components. When this production and technology base is completed, it will provide new jobs to approximately 10,000 citizens. In addition to the domestic added value to be produced, the exports to be made here is expected to reach US$1 Billion per year. Our support for the company is not only limited to the investment site and incentives. We cannot consider value-added production separate from R&D. The BMC R&D Center, which employs 269 engineers, also benefits from the support of our Ministry. In addition, the company carries out 25 projects in cooperation with TÜBİTAK. Our support in R&D, investment and production processes and our cooperation in joint projects, are undoubtedly making great contributions to BMC. Therefore, strong companies such as BMC bring a serious dynamism to both the sector and the national economy.”

President Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN, in his speech at the BMC Production and Technology Base Groundbreaking Ceremony, congratulated everyone who pioneered for the realization of this project and reminding the Turkish-Qatari partnership in the project, offered his gratitude to Emir of Qatar Sheikh TAMIM. President ERDOĞAN said: “From the July 15 coup attempt to the attacks on our economy in August, we have never forgotten, nor we will ever forget the solidarity of our Qatari brothers showed to our country. Just as Turkey showed solidarity with Qatar against the siege attempts of certain powers, Qatar also proved itself as a true friend in all critical situations faced by our country. Expressing his wishes to continue the strengthening of Turkish-Qatari partnership in the future in various fields such as the defence industry, trade, tourism, and energy, ERDOĞAN continued his speech as follows: “Turkey, as a monument for peace, tranquility, and stability in a region of strategic importance, is a source of trust not only for our 82 million people but for all the friendly and brotherly communities. Throughout history, these lands have been a safe haven for those who suffered and were subjected to oppression and persecution because of their religion, language, belief, and ethnic identity.”

Stressing that Turkey does not have the luxury to push the defence industry into the background and Turkey should become powerful with its military capacity, and economic, political and diplomatic capability, ERDOĞAN emphasized “We increased the rate of nationality in our defence industry to 68% from 20%, however, we are not satisfied with it and we are carrying out studies to increase this rate even more.” Indicating that Turkey suffered the consequences of foreign dependency in weapons, ammunition, and military equipment notably in the 1974 Cyprus Peace Operation, ERDOĞAN continued: “Our strategic partners left us in the lurch. Communication is vital in the battlefield. Our strategic partners silenced our radios, our communications systems collapsed. But now we are free of them, we are now producing our own radios. We don’t need them.” 

President ERDOĞAN stated, “Our deterrence, particularly in the field of the defence industry, must be very high.” and made the following assessments in his speech: “Turkey, in all critical areas, especially in the defence industry, should not only become self-sufficient but also reach a level that can meet the needs of its friends. As a matter of fact, thanks to the steps we took, we managed to reduce our foreign dependency ratio to 35% which was 80% in 2002.”

Pointing out that Turkish Defence Industry companies exported armored vehicles, air defence systems, rocket systems, simulators, coast guard ships, communication, command control systems, and software, ERDOĞAN also noted that success is the result of the combination of public opportunities and the private sector’s experience and dynamism.

President ERDOĞAN stated that a US$1.5 Billion agreement was signed for the export of MilGem Corvettes to Pakistan, and an agreement was reached with Ukraine on the sale of six UAVs and added that none of the developed countries produce one hundred percent of the products, supply different parts from many various countries and certain parts of the F-35 aircraft was sent from Turkey.

ERDOĞAN provided explanations about the work in the 1st Main Maintenance Center in Sakarya and pointed out the fact that they will make a new investment worth of US$40 Million to the facility and emphasized that their decision was intended to increase the efficiency, productivity, and technology of the factory. ERDOĞAN said: “Because the property of all the activities to be carried out there, all the facilities on the factory site and all kinds of equipment used in production, maintenance, and repair, belongs to the state and will remain so.”

President ERDOĞAN stressed that the decision about the factory in Arifiye is not “privatization” but rather the transfer of management rights to BMC within certain conditions, periods, and restrictions.

Following the speeches, the first concrete mixture was poured for the foundation of the BMC Production and Technology Base by President ERDOĞAN and members of the protocol participating in the ceremony by pressing together the remote-control buttons of the concrete mixer.