Minister of National Defence Convenes the TOBB Defence Industry Assembly in MKEK Factory

Date: Issue 87 - December 2018

On 30 October 2018, Minister of National Defence Hulusi AKAR gathered with the members of the Defence Industry Assembly under the TOBB (Turkish Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges) at Kırıkkale MKEK Ammunition Factory in order to explore common problems, views and wishes of particularly the small and medium sized businesses.

Minister of National Defence Hulusi AKAR visited the MKEK Ammunition Factory during the morning session of the scheduled program and received detailed information on the ongoing activities and then he shared lunch and conversation with the factory employees. In the afternoon session, the TOBB Defence Industry Assembly convened with the participation of Minister of National Defence Hulusi AKAR, TOBB President Rıfat HİSARCIKLIOĞLU, Mayor of Kırıkkale İlker HAKTANKAÇMAZ, Deputy Minister Yunus Emre KARAOSMANAOĞLU, Türk-İş President Ergün ATALAY, MKEK Deputy General Manager Mehmet ÜNAL, Logistics Commanders of Land and Air Forces, TOBB Defence Industry Assembly Director Yılmaz KÜÇÜKSEYHAN, Deputy General Director of the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation Sadık PİYADE, representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Industry of Kırıkkale and OSSA, SAHA Istanbul, HUKD, ESAC, TSSK Clusters and Cluster Associations’ Chairman’s and Secretary Generals and representatives of the Assembly members from large scaled companies.

Taking the floor at the assembly meeting, Minister of National Defence AKAR touched upon the importance of the indigenous and national defence industry and stated that the success of the activities of security forces depended on the achievement in this area. Mentioning that the defence industry had critical tasks in this stage, AKAR pointed out the necessity of competitiveness in this area. AKAR drew attention on the geography surrounding Turkey and said, “If we wish to exist in this area, we absolutely need to work and succeed. The failure is not option. We must remain vigilant, strong and self-sufficient and we need to exert our utmost efforts to achieve an indigenous and national industry. To this end, we need to enhance the efficiency, deterrence capability and notability of our Armed Forces. We must manufacture unique engines, electronic warfare systems, missiles, explosives, antennas, laser systems and chips utilized by our Naval, Air and Land platforms.” 

Underlining that the encountered problems and challenges in the Turkish Defence Industry should be discussed frankly and openly, AKAR added, “After defining these problems, we should clear up the problems adamantly and then we should proceed forward”.

Minister AKAR stated that they were ready to provide all types of facilities that they could in all activities conducted in line with the ambitions of the Turkish Armed Forces. Minister AKAR: “We have a single condition at this point. If it is in line with the ambitions of Turkey as well as the Turkish Armed Forces, then we are going to amend the law, the regulation and the directive accordingly. We will do as much as we can. Concerning these matters, following negotiations with the representatives of the private sector we adopted a council of ministers’ decision. The problem at this point was, ‘For instance, within the scope of a tender, a well-recognized company that is capable of accomplishing the work proposes the price as 4.90, a company running production under the counter offers 2.50 and wins the tender. At that point, we need to award the contract to the latter one in accordance with the legislation stated by the procurement authorities. This is our first and main problem. The second one is the claims of the major companies. They say, ‘even if the tender is secured at 4.90 price, we would not join the tender.  They say, ‘we need to make new investments and expand our capacity.’ And if we accomplish these then you would have to promise the next purchase from our company, but at that point you would say that a new tender will be opened in 2019 and the bidder with the minimum price will secure the tender. Then the major company would ask who will absorb these investments.’ Due to these two reasons, we need to reach out to the major companies recognized in the markets and provide the awarded parties the guarantee of purchase for at least 5 years or more. We have initiated this approach into effect in the areas of clothing, food and beverage and in the indigenization of our defence industry’s spare parts. Then again certain problems may arise in operations. But our intention is to realize accomplishments, we aim for this and will strive to achieve this”.

Following the speech of the Minister of National Defence Hulusi AKAR, Deputy Secretary General of SaSaD - Yılmaz KÜÇÜKSEYHAN presented a comparison of the World and Turkish Defence Industry.  Following this presentation, the representatives of the SaSaD member companies and Cluster Associations conveyed their obstacles and challenges to Minister AKAR.

Companies and clusters mostly declared their views on the procurement legislation that falls under the responsibilities of the Ministry of National Defence and the consultation portion of the event lasted for 4.5 hours, and the event was concluded with a group photo.