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Teknokent Defence Industry Cluster: Bridge between University, Industry and New Markets

Burcu Uslu Özdemir TSSK Cluster Manager TSSK Executive Board Member and Secretary General

Issue 41

Founded in 2010, Teknokent Defence Industry Cluster, TSSK, represents the high technology cluster of defence, aerospace and security industries operating in Ankara, Turkey. At present, it consists of 70 member companies operating in ODTU Teknokent, but intends to embrace all defence industry companies of the region, that are developing high-tech innovations in the sector. TSSK has close relations with the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM), and is a member of Defence Industry Manufacturers Association (SASAD) as well as the Turkish Defence Alliance.

Turkey is ranked as the 15th among the global top military spenders and the 6th in Europe, accounting for 1.1% of global military spending for 2011. The defence budget for the 2012 fiscal year indicates a 7.4% increase over 2011 defence spending, comprising 1.3% of the GDP of the country for 2012. Thus, defence industry is considered to be the driving force of the technology base of the country and is expected to become the key driver of Turkish economy in a couple of years. Turkish defence industry has been experiencing a rapid growth in recent years, owing to the government’s strategic decision to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign procurement, to increase the production of indigenous solutions, products and systems for use by the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF), as well as to attain technological competence in the market. As of today, more than 50% of the TAF’s needs are satisfied through domestic supplies. The expectations are that this growth can only be sustained through high technology development via investment of funds along with human factor for research and development activities. To this end, Turkish Armed Forces, the SSM and Ministry of National Defence have allocated considerable financial resources, around 50 million USD on annual basis, for high technology R&D activities to improve the country’s technological infrastructure. Consequently, the SSM issued a Defence R&D Road Map for the optimization of allocated resources, determined and prioritized R&D projects in line with the needs and objectives of the main system projects that will involve collaboration of industries, universities and research organizations.

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