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Interview

SaSaD: “Event Evaluation & Decision Committee to be Established by the SSB, MoND and SaSaD as a Solution for Event Excessiveness in Turkey.”

We talked with the SaSaD Genel Secretary Hüseyin BAYSAK and SaSaD Deputy General Secretary Yılmaz KÜÇÜKSEYHAN about the output of 2019, ongoing & future activities of SaSaD.

Issue 96

Defence Turkey: Could you please inform us on the number of members of the Defense and Aerospace Industry Manufacturers Association (SaSaD) as well as the activities and events you have performed and/or supported in 2019?

SaSaD: We have 201 members currently. Among these members are cluster associations such as SAHA Istanbul, OSSA, TSSK, BSO, ESAC and HUKD. We would like to express that we are a roof organization representing 800-850 industrialists who are not directly our members but are members of these cluster associations and also in our communication network.

Training activities such as “Patent to Technology”, “Project Management”, “Paint Surface Protection Applications”, “Effects of Personal Data Protection Law on Companies”, conferences for promoting the sector at TOBB ETU, HACETTEPE, ÇUKUROVA Universities, B2B activities such as the Paris AirShow and DSEI London, fair and representation activities such as the IDEF Fair, and scientific conferences such as USMOS can be listed as our activities carried out during the year. 

Defence Turkey: Could you evaluate the 10-month export performance of the Turkish Defense and Aviation/Aerospace Industry for 2019? Do you think it will be possible to reach the target of US$ 3 billion?

SaSaD: As it is known, we prepare and publish the Sector Performance Report with a survey based on final financial statements in March of the following year and as a result our report can be published at the end of May, but since the Defense and Aerospace Industry Exporters' Association (SSI) collects data from customs declaration records, the reports are updated accordingly.  Based on the information obtained from the SSI, sector exports in the first 9 months of 2019 increased by 37.7% compared to the same period in the previous year and reached US$ 1 Billion 855 million 273 thousand. Last year, according to SSI data, the sector's exports amounted to US$ 2 Billion 35 Million.  We announced that this figure was at the level of US$ 2 billion 188 million including foreign exchange earnings from services.

If the trend in the first 9 months continues, we can close the year at the level of US$ 3 billion, which is very probable. Our experience in previous years demonstrates that export activities have accelerated at the end of the year.

Defence Turkey: SaSaD started its journey with the mission of being the voice and defender of Turkish Defense and Aviation Industrialists in domestic and international platforms in order to represent our country in international platforms and to develop cooperation opportunities of sector players. What would you like to share about SaSaD’s 2019 activities also what are your targets for 2020?

SaSaD: As it is known, cooperation protocols (MOUs) have been signed in previous years with friendly and allied countries’ Defense and Aerospace Industrialists Associations, such as GIFAS (France) ADS (UK) AIAD (Italy) ROMARM (Romania) KDI (South Korea) and TAWAZUN (UAE).

Within the framework of these cooperation protocols, we organized meetings in 2019 with GIFAS at the Paris AirShow and with ADS at DSEI London so that the industrialists of two countries could discuss cooperation opportunities.

We are planning to take part in the DSA, Eurosatory and IDEAS 2020 events, which will be at a national participation level in 2020. With this participation, we are planning to efficiently promote the Turkish Defense and Aviation/Aerospace Industry and we will organize meetings where we can bring together industrialists from both sides.

Defence Turkey: In previous years, SaSaD was organizing Industrial Day Events in the target countries of the Turkish Defense and Aviation Industry with the support of Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) and the participation of many sector companies under the auspices of the Ministry of National Defense (MoND). Do you plan to continue such activities in 2020 as well? In 2019, you organized a series of cooperation meetings at international defense and aviation fairs such as the Paris AirShow and DSEI. Could you please evaluate the outcome of these types of meetings? Will you continue to organize similar meetings at international fairs in 2020?

SaSaD: We consider the Industrial Day activities you mentioned as platforms that have a valuable impact and where the possibilities of cooperation are discussed. With the support of the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), we wish to continue these activities as in the previous years and we conveyed our request to the SSB. We even proposed some target countries as well. However, this request was not responded to positively because the SSB International Cooperation Department preferred to organize cooperation meetings with Turkish Defense and Aviation Industry Companies during their visits in the countries that they planned, and unfortunately we did not have the opportunity to perform such industrial day activities.

The event that we organized together with GIFAS at the GIFAS Chalet during the Paris AirShow was appreciated by all participants, as it brought together Turkish and French aviation/aerospace industry players. The two-day event, which was attended by 70 industrialists from both sides, was a fruitful platform for collaboration. In coordination with ADS in DSEI London.

Defence Turkey: Could you inform us about SaSaD's cooperation activities, together with the SSI and the SSB, with other associations and clusters performing activities in our country? What further steps do you plan to take to further cooperation activities in 2020?

SaSaD: Unfortunately, we couldn’t say we have been active in this area. We have not cooperated much other than participating in the activities of OSSA, ESB and SAHA and participating in the activities we organized as well as supporting the Project Market Activity of the TAF as a participant. We wish and hope that in the coming years, the parties will be more active in planning and conducting events together.

Defence Turkey: With the Decree Law No. 696 published in December 2017, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM) was affiliated to the Presidency of the Republic by disaffiliating from the Ministry of National Defense (MoND) and on July 10, 2018 it was renamed the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB). Could you please evaluate the benefits and advantages of the SSB, which has had a crucial role in contribution to bringing the national defense industry to its current position, and its affiliation to the Presidency from the MoND? What were the effects of this change on the SaSaD and the member companies during the last two years?

SaSaD: In our country, as a result of the transition to the Presidential Management System from the Parliamentary System, extensive changes and implementations have started. The General Staff and Force Commands were affiliated to the Ministry of National Defense; organizations such as ASFAT, the General Directorate of Military Factories and the General Directorate of Military Shipyards were established.

With this change, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries transformed into a Presidency and became an institution directly affiliated to the Presidency of the Republic. We consider that being affiliated to the highest decision-making body is beneficial for our sector and we see the reflections of this in the prioritization of our sector and having full support as well as the presence of the President of the SSB in the delegations of the President of the Republic. It is incorrect to say that the relationship with the MoND has ended with this change. With the involvement of the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Interior in the members of the Defense Industry Executive Committee, where all important decisions are taken, and with the SSB’s appointment for meeting the needs of the TAF as well as the General Directorate of Security and the Gendarmerie General Command as a sole source, positive reflections have emerged for our industrialists. 

Defence Turkey: One of the issues that attracted our attention in the sector in recent years is the great number of events. In recent times, many organizations and associations have been carrying out many events in the sector and even we, as the sectoral media, have difficulties in following all of them. Are they in contact with SaSaD, the non-governmental organization of the sector, in the planning process of events which also have a substantial financial burden on companies? What measures should be taken to prevent this excessive number of events? Do you think the Turkish Defense and Aviation/Aerospace Industry Ecosystem Coordination Platform, established within the SSB, can play a role in the coordination and planning of sector-related events?

SaSaD: The defense and aerospace sectors are strategic sectors with high value-adding, innovative and constantly advancing technologies. Involving intensive collaboration, these sectors have been developing and expanding. The conferences, seminars, symposiums, workshops, project markets and fairs are organized in order to raise awareness on the developments in the sector and we generally announce these events to our members. Organizing events has been turned into a commercial activity by some organizations. In order to conduct such events, demands on participation (paid or free), sponsorship, speakers, panelist, stand areas have been increasing as a result. This leads to budget and human resources allocation for our industrialists and has started to cause serious complaints due to the excessive number of events and high costs. Sponsorship and stand expenditures as well as personnel expenses of companies of up to TL million in a year frustrate sector players (Manufacturers, Procurement and User Authorities). For example, from September 2019 until today, 45 events have been held and will continue to be held until the end of the year.

If you want to attend such events by putting your business aside, you can easily find them because almost every day an event takes place.  When the outcomes of the events are examined, the achievements on cooperation, business development and technology awareness are not at the desired level. The measure that should be taken in this regard is the establishment of a control mechanism regarding these events.  An ‘Event Evaluation and Decision Committee’ could be established by the SSB, MoND and SaSaD can be a solution for this excessiveness. The event evaluation criteria would be determined by the commission and the event organizer is asked to apply to the commission with a form. The criteria can be defined as follows:

Alignment of the objective and content of the event to the sectoral priorities

Compliance of the event with the expectations of the MoND and the SSB

Whether or not there is any commercial purpose in the organization of the event

Whether or not the event supports any particular projects and/or target

This type of approach with a committee and approval process will not be welcomed by organizers especially having commercial interests in these events. However, we consider that it is necessary to establish a control mechanism to prevent excessive events.

Defence Turkey: Thank you very much for sharing your valuable time and insight