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Turkish Defense & Aerospace Industry Performance First Two Months of 2020

Issue 98

Turkey is able to sell its NATO-standard compliant, state-of-the-art indigenous products at a cheaper price compared to the normal market prices, and more importantly along with technology transfer and local production options, Turkey notably increased its arms exports (specifically armored vehicles, naval vessels/boats and weapon systems) during 2013 - 2019 and this trend is expected to last also in 2020. 

Thanks to its steadily increasing export figures, Turkey is also progressing on the list of the 25 largest major arms exporters of the world during recent years. According to data collected by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), while it was the 25th largest exporter in 2011 during 2015-2019, with a share of 0.8% Turkey ranked 14th on the list of the 25 largest major arms exporters in the world. 

Emerging as a new arms exporter the Turkish Defense & Aerospace Industry has managed to put 5 firms (Aselsan [52nd], TUSAŞ [69th], STM [85th], BMC [85th] and Roketsan [89th]) on the world’s 100 largest defense companies in 2019. According to export figures revealed by the Defense and Aerospace Exporters’ Association (SSI) and the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM), the Turkish Defense and Aerospace Sector increased exports by 34.6% during 2019 compared to 2018. According to the figures Turkey has realized US$2,741 Billion worth of defense and aerospace exports to 164 countries around the globe in 2019. The annual turnover of the Turkish Defense & Aerospace Industry also rose to the US$9 Billion level in 2019. The exports of Turkish Defense and Aerospace Industry are expected to exceed US$3 Billion by the end of 2020. 

According to TIM figures, the total arms exports carried out by the Turkish Defense & Aerospace Industry soared by 5% during the first two months of 2020 and reached US$348,697 Million. With a total of US$135,085 Million in purchases North America/US countries took the lion’s share in Turkish Defense & Aerospace Industry’s exports, followed by EU countries with US$84,813 Million and Middle East countries with US$62,187 Million in purchases.

According to TIM’s data as of February 29, 2020 the list of the top 10 countries that imported defense and aerospace products from Turkey is composed of; the US (US$131,257 Million), Germany (US$38,229 Million), UAE (US$26,091 Million), India (US$23,984 Million), the Netherlands (US$16,305 Million), Qatar (US$12,728 Million), Switzerland (US$12,062 Million), Saudi Arabia (US$11,354 Million), the UK (US$8,653 Million) and Azerbaijan (US$8,364 Million).

As it was pointed out in the “Strategic Plan 2019-2023,” document, which was published by the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB), the procurement authority under the Turkish Presidency, in December 2019, the Turkish Defense and Aerospace Industry’s annual turnover is targeted to rise to US$26,9 Billion in 2023, from US$8,761 Billion in 2018. According to the “Strategic Plan 2019-2023,” document Turkey also plans to boost its defense and aerospace (both military and commercial) exports to US$10.2 Billion (from US$2,188 Billion in 2018) by 2023. As indicated in the “Strategic Plan 2019-2023” the share of domestic procurement should reach 75% by the end of 2023, up from 65% in 2018.