An Overview on Turkish Defence Industry from Minister of National Defence Mr. M. Vecdi GÖNÜL

Changes we experience in the world, internal and external regional conflicts, terrorist activities and the changing concept of threat have once again highlighted the challenges and the significance of the region where Turkey is loca

Issue 15 - April 2009

Therefore, Turkish Armed Forces is one of the well-equipped, well-trained and prosperous armies of the world, with advanced operation skills. In this respect, significant modernisation and provision activities have been realised in the last 20 years in accordance with the needs of the Turkish Armed Forces.
National defence and security is an indispensable need for all countries to prevail peace in the world. Turkey is also aware of the obligation to have the relevant military power and defence skills for the protection of its independence, territorial integrity and fundamental interests and pays due effort to this end.
Our country, which has assumed vital responsibility for the prevalence of peace, security and stability, exerts resources not only for the defence of the country, but also the missions of the United Nations and operations for preserving peace.
Turkey actively participates in The Peace Support Operations held in Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Sudan and Lebanon following the above objectives. Turkish Armed Forces were also appointed to safeguard peace in Aden Gulf, as well.
Also, our country sustains its policy to use the resources allocated to defence power and actual defence for peaceful purposes and its active participation in international and regional alliances, particularly NATO.
IDEF International Defence Industry Fair is particularly important for the exhibition and promotion of the latest Defence Industry products in international defence industry area, follow-up of technological advancements and the evaluation of international cooperation opportunities for provision programmes. IDEF Fairs gain in importance day by day owing to the integrating and compromising environment enhanced, as well as the products presented. 9th IDEF Fair, which was been organised in Ankara since 1993, will be held on 27-30 April 2009 in Istanbul, for the first time. IDEF-2009 Fair will be held under the auspices and support of the Ministry of Defence and the management of the Turkish Armed Forces Strengthening Foundation and the organisation by TUYAP All Fair Organisation Inc.
IDEF-2009 Fair will be executed in Istanbul following a professional understanding of fair organisation in a modern area particularly designed for the fair organisation with a wide participation. This year marine was also included in IDEF-2009 Fair in Istanbul where the two continents and cultures merged. It is very important that IDEF-2009 is organised in Istanbul, which connects Europe and Asia, this year as Istanbul offers international transportation opportunities and wide accommodation facilities and Istanbul is getting prepared to become European Culture Capital in 2010; therefore, the fair this year is called “Eurasia Meeting”.
Another particular aspect of IDEF-2009 is that international defence, aviation and space sectors meet there. In this respect, we consider IDEF International Defence Industry Fair a notable international cooperation and promotion platform, which is among the biggest fair in its region and the one of the distinguished fairs in the world. National and foreign industrialists have the opportunity to meet and defence industrialists present their new products. Ministries of Defence, Vice Ministers, Undersecretaries and senior officers of the invited countries responsible for the provision participate in the fair, so that a competition environment is developed for meeting the defence needs in the most economic and qualified way. Also, mutual cooperation opportunities are considered by the attendant states and firms and the fair makes useful contributions to the region where it is organised.
Eight IDEF Fairs were successfully organised in 1993-2007. IDEF International Defence Industry Fairs have become a world famous brand of Turkish Defence Industry owing to the traditional structure developed in IDEF fairs and the biggest fair in the Middle East, Balkans and Caucasian regions. Participation in IDEF fairs, which have been organised since 1993, increases day by day. I believe that organisation of the ever-developing IDEF-2009 Fair in Istanbul will offer very positive contributions to our country and the participants as Istanbul will be the culture capital in 2010. We expect the participation of official delegation and firms in IDEF-2009.
More than 60 countries, more than 30 Ministers of Defence and 388 firms from 40 countries are expected to participate in IDEF International Defence Industry Fair, in which more and more countries and firms participate each year. During the fair, ceremonies will be held to initiate various significant projects of the Turkish Armed Forces and defence industry cooperation agreements will be undersigned, which form the basis for the cooperation of the countries and defence industry.
We can see that a significant and modern defence industry infrastructure has been established in our country as a result of the efforts recently initiated and sustained. Almost all system needs of the Turkish Armed Forces are met by our defence industry and the relevant products are sought after abroad and therefore exported.
When we look at the export figures of our Defence Industry, a remarkable increase has been observed when compared to the previous years. The most significant factor in the increase in export rates is that national original design projects are given the priority in the provision activities carried out for the needs of the Turkish armed Forces. Particular importance was given to the strengthening the technological infrastructure of the defence industry and making due use of the resources in provision activities we carry out for meeting the system needs required for the national defence. Also, this increase has been reinforced by allocating more resource to Research and Development Projects and supporting the development of the defence industry by activating off-set commitments which offers the business shares and export opportunities to the local industry in line with the projects coordinated by allied countries. In parallel, active support is provided to the defence industry firms in all possible platforms for the export of the domestic products.
Today, Turkish Defence Industry has trained labour force and basic technology infrastructure. The volume of our defence market has reached the same level as the defence internal market of some European countries, with the defence system provision expenditures. It ensures that Turkish Defence Industry has a stronger presence in national and international markets with the efficient use of the significant resources. In this respect, our target is to increase the rate of meeting national needs by giving the priority to original design projects and develop strategically important defence skills as much as possible so that it meets the needs.
Technology and Research and Development concepts of the defence industry should not be considered separate. When a skill is needed for the national defence, it is considered to provide the defence systems to guarantee such skill with the highest technology possible. Otherwise, the sufficient effect and deterrence of the system may not be ensured.
The project model, in which the defence systems Turkish Armed Forces needs are provided through the development under the subcontracting of Turkish Defence Industry Firms, is described as “Domestic Development”. Domestic Development is a provision process and this process is comprised of design, prototype and serial production. In the majority of the projects carried out, a provision model is applied based on domestic development. Main system projects are categorised into two, if needed, in the first stage the emergency needs part of the system is provided as a joint production through direct purchase following the foreign solutions, and in the second stage, the remaining part of the system is attempted to be provided through medium and long term domestic development.
As stated before, our main objective in defence industry is to create our own design in priority areas and structure the defence industry in a way as to provide original domestic solutions and compete in the international area. In this respect, our priorities include the restructuring of our defence industry in the light of the developments all around the world and the establishment of efficient cooperation with the other sectors in Turkey.
I believe that Defence Turkey magazine makes significant contributions to the publicity of the skills of the Turkish Defence Industry in the country and abroad, and it will successfully continue its activities. I wish all the best to the distinguished staff of Defence Turkey magazine in the publication sector.