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Minister of National Defense Submitted to the Commission the National Defense Draft Budget for the year 2017

National Defense Minister Mr. Fikri Işık made a presentation on the budget and final accounts of the Ministry of National Defense and the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries to the Plan and Budget Commission members on 17 November. Minister Mr. Işık highlighted the recent developments in the global and regional security environment that have recently affected the defense and security requirements of Turkey before the presentation.

Stating that the world is going through a very rapid change, Minister Mr. Işık pointed out that destabilization and crises in the countries of the region have overtaken the borders of the world and that they are now affecting the whole world and that hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives in the conflicts in the region and that many people have escaped from the region. “We see that hundreds of thousands of people who escaped from the ongoing war in Syria and Iraq strive to reach the developed countries through land and sea by taking all kinds of danger for a comfortable and peaceful life. A lot of people are losing their lives during this dangerous journey. Until 11 November 2016, nearly a year later, 4,000 refugees who were unfortunately only passing through Libya, Italy, lost their lives in these dangerous waters. Unfortunately, this immigration wave also affects Turkey. Within this context, we prevented further deaths in the Aegean Sea through the reconciliation we have had with the EU on 18 March 2016 and the extraordinary efforts of our Naval Forces and the Coast Guard and Gendarmerie in order to control illegal transitions at the Aegean Sea”, added Minister Mr. Işık.

The Minister of National Defense also informed the members of the commission about the Border Physical Security System that they are launching in order to minimize the risks and threats coming from Syria. Işık said that within the scope of the project, a border wall, spanning 825 km is planned to be constructed and that the construction of 269 km wall has been completed so far and the rest of the wall is anticipated to be completed by the first half of 2017.

Turkey Increases its Defense Spending

Emphasizing that Turkey is an important actor who can make a positive contribution to the solution of global and regional issues, Minister Mr. Işık said that while increasing the cooperation with friendly and allied countries in this frame, it will continue to strengthen the Turkish Armed Forces with the best means. “Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952 and attaches great importance to the conservation of the military and political effectiveness of the alliance in the face of increased security testing. As a matter of fact, in NATO’s summit in 2014 in Wales and in 2016 in Warsaw, NATO member states formed a common will to develop their military capabilities according to these emerging needs. An important decision also taken in NATO in 2014 was that countries committed to allocate 2 percent of their gross domestic product by 2024 to defense spending, and at least 20 percent of this portion to the procurement of weapon systems. Therefore, our country has to allocate 2 percent of its gross domestic product by 2024 to defense expenditures in particular. According to NATO calculation methods, the ratio of Turkey’s defense spending to gross domestic product was 1.66 percent in 2015. Turkey is ranked 7th amongst NATO member countries in this respect. “

Underlining the fact that they are working to establish a productive eco-system in the Defense Industry, Mr. Işık said that they will implement the methods which enable more effective operations of foundation, public and private companies performing activities in the Defense Industry in the future. Minister Mr. Işık also said, “In line with this approach, our Foundation and Public Companies will focus more on system integration, produce high value added products and use brain power to develop new generation systems. We will create an ecosystem in which needs, except for the critical areas, are produced by the private sector and work shares are spread to the base rather than keeping on a public company model, that does everything by itself, and produces everything itself. Our SMEs will take more part in defense and aerospace areas. To sum up, we will try to create a system that will enable technological depth and support practical and agile initiatives through a structure where the main contractors transfer businesses to SMEs at serious levels.”

Minister of National Defense Mr. Fikri Işık: “We will activate order based R&D studies”

Having said that Turkey’s defense industry export, which amounted to $ 1.66 billion in 2015, was aimed at $ 5 billion, Mr. Işık continued, “We know that it is difficult to achieve such a goal by selling more goods. Therefore, the greatest transformation in this sector will be to produce high value products, platforms and systems and sell them to other countries. The defense industry is a sector where the most advanced technologies are used. The development of these technologies is only possible with intensive R&D studies. We are making systematic changes also in the area of R&D where various resources are allocated.

Accordingly, we continue to work hard on order based R&D as well as active participation of academics in the sector. In particular, we aim to stimulate the participation of universities and research institutions and make more use of human resources. At the same time, we will continue to specialize with R&D centers that we built and will build. The current conditions necessitate accelerating our R&D activities in the area of electronic warfare and cyber defense in addition to conventional defense products. The accomplishments to be gained in this field will also contribute to the security and peace in our country. Especially, we aim that our public institutions and foundations focus more in critical technologies, the qualified human resources are organized in a way to obtain the critical technology that Turkey has to obtain, and that our private sector, together with our foundation companies and other public companies work more in cooperation in order to meet both the needs of our country and sell these products to friendly and allied nations.”

In his presentation, Minister of National Defense Mr. Fikri Işık also informed the commission members about the latest status of the procurement, development and mass production programs within the Undersecretariat for Defense Industry. Mr. Işık also stated that within the New Generation Basic Trainer Aircraft “Hürkuş”, the tests conducted on the two prototypes were completed and that the aircraft was certified by both national and international authorities. He said that the production of 15 planes to be produced in the Hürkuş-B serial production program commenced.

Turkey Ordered 32 F-35 Aircrafts

Minister Mr. Işık said that they have placed new orders for F-35 JSF aircrafts, which will replace F-4 aircrafts in the upcoming period. “Our country also takes part in the international project for the F-35 procurement. The F-35 aircrafts will increase the striking power and operational effectiveness of our Air Forces Command. In this project, we work jointly with 9 countries including the United States of America. Within this context, we have already ordered 6 aircrafts, two of which will be delivered in 2018. For the next three years, the decision for an additional 24 F35 orders, -eight for each year- was taken.” 

35 “Atak” Helicopters Planned to be Delivered by the End of 2017

National Defense Minister Mr. Fikri Işık stated that 16  “Atak” helicopters have been delivered to the Turkish Armed Forces so far and said, “Atak helicopters are now being used extensively in the fight against terrorism in the Southeast. By the end of 2017, the procurement 35 helicopters will be completed. Soon, our attack helicopter will be armed with the indigenous anti-tank missile “UMTAS”. On the other hand, I would also like to mention that there is intense interest and demand from the friendly and allied countries for the Atak helicopters.” Minister Mr. Işık also said that the delivery schedule started on June 15 within the scope of Turkish Utility Helicopter program and that the first delivery is planned to be made in 2021.

Stating that six submarines to be produced under the new Type Submarine program will be manufactured in Gölcük Shipyard in Turkey, Mr. Işık said that the infrastructure improvement activities and design adaptations started to be carried out in order to build the submarines at Gölcük Naval Shipyard Command in this frame. “The first submarine is scheduled to be delivered to the Naval Forces Command in 2020, and the remaining submarines will be delivered every other year,” said Minister Mr. Işık.

Minister Mr. Işık stated that the 1st and 2nd vessels entered into the inventory of Turkish Naval Forces within the scope of MILGEM project and said that they started the construction of 3rd and 4th vessels in September 2014. According to the program schedule, the 3rd and 4th vessels will be taken into service in 2018 and 2020. Mr. Işık also said that as a continuation of the series, the design activities of MILGEM 5-8 vessels, which were previously launched, have started. Minister Mr. Işık stated that the 5th vessel will be produced by the Istanbul Shipyard Command and the remaining vessels will be manufactured by the consortium which will be established by the private shipyards.

The Final Offer Regarding the Main Battle Tank “Altay” Program is Being Evaluated

Minister Mr. Işık stated that the prototype development and qualification phase, preparation for test and review activities were carried out within the scope of the Main Battle Tank “Altay” Project, and the system qualification and acceptance test process was started in April 2015. “With the first prototype tank, the testing for ten thousand kilometers of durability continues. With the second prototype tank, the system qualification test firings are carried out according to the weapon systems and fire power acceptance, test and inspection procedures. The first and second offers for mass production were received from the company that made the development program for mass production and that the evaluation process continues”, said Minister Mr. Işık.

After the Minister’s presentation, the members of the commission made assessments on the presentation, and afterwards the question-answer session occurred. Here, Minister Mr. Işık was asked again what kind of a model the mass production process would continue. Minister Mr. Işık addressed this question as “We have awarded a contract with the company regarding Altay program. This company has produced 2 prototypes. One of the tests has been completed, and the second one is to be completed soon. At a later stage, an RFP was sent to the company and the company submitted its proposal. Then we want it to be revised. That revision was made. During the next meeting, the Defense Industry Executive Committee will evaluate whether or not this proposal is sufficiently competitive. If it is evaluated as a sufficiently competitive proposal, a mass production tender will directly be awarded with the company, but if this is not the case, then an open tender will be realized.”

Ministry of National Defense 2017 Draft Budget Submitted to the Commission

Minister of National Defense Mr. Fikri Işık presented the Ministry of National Defense’s 2017 Draft Budget to the Plan Budget Commission. Accordingly, the National Defense Budget of 2017 is planned to be 28 billion 702 million 119 thousand Turkish Liras. 51.5% of this budget consists of personnel expenses, 8.8% to social security institutions for state premium expenses, 37.4% to purchase of goods and services, 1.5% to current transfers and 8% to capital expenditures.