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Turkiye achieves 80pct domestic output level in defense industry sector

15 September 2022 16:47 (UTC+04:00)
Turkiye achieves 80pct domestic output level in defense industry sector

By News Center

The share of local military production in the Turkish defense industry has amounted to 80 percent, Yeni Shafak reports, citing Turkish Harb-Is Union Chairman Alaattin Soydan.

Soydan made the remarks at the Defense Industry Workshop organized by the union in Yalova’s Cinarcik District.

"Turkiye has achieved about 80 percent local production in the defense sector. MILGEMs (National Ship) is the biggest export item in the history of the Republic of Turkiye. Two of them are being built for Pakistan and two in Istanbul shipyards," Soydan stressed.

He highlighted that domestic firms such as Havelsan, Aselsan, Roketsan, and TAI are now well-known and that Turkish engineers operate machinery in industries round-the-clock, as well as control submarines and combat planes in the sea and the air.

"MILGEMs are the biggest export item in the history of the Republic of Turkiye. Two of them are being built for Pakistan and two at Istanbul's shipyards. Today, our friends at Kayseri Air Supply and Maintenance Command have started and are doing the retrofits of A400 M cargo planes all over Europe. The people, who made the storm howitzers, for which we are so proud of today, are our friends. These activities are still ongoing in our Sakarya First Main Maintenance Factory," Soydan said.

He added that the staff has difficulties fulfilling their tasks and they demand assistance in this regard.

"When it comes to complying with orders, regulations, rules, and circulars, it is said, 'You are military personnel, you have to obey to', but when it comes to benefiting from social rights, we are told 'You are a worker, it has nothing to do with you. This is for military personnel'. This is an issue that always hurts our friends, always makes them feel inferior,” Soydan stressed.

However, the employees work at the border throughout the entire year and even go beyond it. They fix the tanks alongside the soldiers on the front lines. In a desert area, they disassemble the tank's engine, fix it, and reassemble it, he added.

“One of the most pressing concerns is the utilization of army camps and guesthouses. Our plea is never for holiday purposes. We do not need them to stay at military guesthouses while on tour. Our request is that when they go on duty for the state, they are unable to find a hotel. We want them to reside in the clubhouse in exchange for state-provided subsistence. We want our employees also benefit from army camps and guesthouses,” Soydan underlined.

Soydan conveyed the demands for a special passport, license, and permit to carry weapons, optional membership to the Army Solidarity Institution, and the right of discounted travel, which has been granted to TAF military personnel, to be extended to union members as well.

Tarkan Zengin, Advisor to the Chairman of the union, emphasized that the defense industry in Turkiye has seen great development in the last 20 years.

He added that there were approximately 62 defense industry projects worth $5.5 billion in 2002.

"Currently, there are more than 750 defense industry projects with a budget totaling $75 billion. There is a 12-fold increase in defense industry projects and a 14-fold increase in the defense budget. One of the main reasons for this is the budget allocated to research and development (R&D). There has been a 30-fold increase in R&D in the last 20 years. The budget in the defense industry, which was allocated to R&D in 2002, was $49 million, and now it has exceeded $1.5 billion," Zengin emphasized.

He underlined that the share of local products in defense has increased from 20 percent to 80 percent. Under certain circumstances, domestic production exceeds 97 percent when split down by product. For example, Turkiye secured 97 percent local production in unmanned aerial vehicles and 100 percent in numerous other categories. The country has already reached that level with missiles and smart munitions.

When speaking about the Turkish defense industry, there are organizations, such as Aselsan, TUSAS, TAI, which are affiliated with the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation, as well as the private sector, but military industries serve as the foundation for all of them. The country possesses military industries dating back 100 or 110 years, Zengin highlighted.

Zengin remarked that Turkiye is aware of the importance of the defense industry sector, which covers a much wider area from digital security to food and economic security.

"Turkiye possesses three significant abilities in the sector. First, it has the political will and determination to continue its development in the defense industry. Second, it has a qualified workforce to make these products. Third, it has the technical infrastructure to maintain and manufacture these products. Turkiye has progressed from a market to a global player in the military sector. We see the rewards of this today, and we will see it in the future. Because the development in the defense industry is not only specific to this field, it saves you from foreign dependency, gives you an important power in international relations, and causes you to form new alliances. We saw it in Karabakh, in Libya,” he stressed.

Turkish Harb-Is Deputy Chairman Hasan Karaca made a presentation on military factories. The workshop was attended by the General Secretary of the union Yasar Yavuz, academics, writers, and journalists.

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