Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed that Ankara would break the nation’s dependency on foreign military suppliers for its defense industry.
He made the remarks in a Monday address at the inauguration ceremony of the Radar and Electronic Warfare Technology Center in Ankara, launched by Turkey's leading state-owned defense system manufacturer ASELSAN, Daily Sabah reported.
"We plan to eliminate external dependency on defense equipment supply with ongoing projects and investments by 2023. We will not allow the use of any ready defense equipment without our being involved from design to production," said Erdogan.
According to the report, ASELSAN's $157 million new facility in the nation’s capital of Ankara will employ over 1,200 people, including 776 engineers, “who will work on the development of radar and electronic warfare systems for land, air, sea, aerospace and unmanned platforms.”
This is while ASELSAN's board Chairman Hasan Canpolat was also cited as saying at the event that the company ranked fourth among the “fastest-growing companies in the defense industry worldwide.” Canpolat further noted that with the inauguration of the new facility, the country’s reliance on foreign sources of radar and electronic wartime systems would decline, making Turkey one of the few nations capable of designing and production in the field.
Turkish defense industry producers plan to increase their exports to $25 billion by 2023 from $1.6 billion in 2014, according to Ankara’s undersecretary for defense industries.
The top military export items, the report adds, were aircraft, helicopter parts, engines, armored land vehicles, speed boats, missiles, rockets, launch platforms, light weapons and electronic systems, including transmitters, simulators, sensors and software.
Turkey plans to spend nearly $70 billion on military equipment by 2023 when the nation intends to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of “the modern republic,” the report adds.