BUSINESS

Turkey Makes $5 Billion Defense Investment To Build Own Capability

Jody Ray Bennett
Author
Jody Ray Bennett
Turkey Makes $5 Billion Defense Investment To Build Own Capability

Turkey has announced it is planning 22 new defense projects worth nearly $5 billion. The projects are aimed at enhancing its air defense missile systems, ammunition and arms cache. A defense industry executive board made the announcement and said the investment will help modernize the mass production of tanks, combat helicopters, and unmanned aerial vehicle drones.

The executive committee of Turkey’s Defense Industry Undersecretariat is chaired by Prime Minister Yıldırım and includes Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli and Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu. Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar and Defense Industry Undersecretary İsmail Demir are regular at meetings.

In recent years, Turkey has sought to build its domestic defense industry to reduce reliance on foreign suppliers.

Turkey's investments in the sector now total $3.5 billion, and a recurring annual expenditure of $2 billion to $3 billion is likely to stay the course in this modernization project. The Defense Industry Undersecretariat now supervises a total of 269 projects.

According to data provided by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Turkey’s military expenditures were $15.3 billion in 2002 and $14.9 billion in 2016.

In 2002, the country exported $250 million worth of defense products. Turkey’s Exporters Assembly shows that in 2016, its defense and aeronautics sector made foreign sales of $1.68 billion. One-third of those sales in 2016 were to the United States, followed by sales to Germany, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Britain, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia.

In a deal finalized last month, Uzbekistan will produce more than 1,000 armored vehicles in a joint venture with Turkey — a sign that Turkey is more willing to partake in joint partnerships and wants to reduce reliance on foreign production.

Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said the Turkish Armed Forces have grown in strength and mobility because of steps taken in recent years and improvement in domestic production capabilities. He added that "the embargos imposed on Turkey by some of its allies would not keep us out of our way."