DEVELOPMENTS IN TURKISH DEFENSE INDUSTRY
ASSAM’S ANSWER TO QUESTIONS ON
Q-1 The Warhead Production Facility, which is announced to be opened this year, is considered a very important step in this direction. What do you think about the steps taken from Turkey in this field as ASSAM?
A-1 Turkey understands that independent policies towards its national objectives cannot be implemented when the warfare weapons and tools it needs to ensure its security against the foreign countries, whether through grants or through procurement, are obtained from another countries.
In the last decade, in which it has ensured political stability within this understanding, it has attached importance to defense industry production and implemented important projects that allow it to produce main combat vehicles with its own resources.
Turkey is now capable of making defense industrial products, from infantry rifles to aircraft, from low-altitude defense systems to warships, drones to satellite systems. In addition to participating in multinational production programs, it has realized and strives to realize and implement many other projects such as rifles, warships, training aircraft, attack and general-purpose helicopters, fighter jets, mine-resistant vehicles, armored land vehicles, amphibious vehicles, cruise missiles, smart munitions, anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, 3rd generation tanks, self-propelled and towed cannons. It has become the fifteenth in the world ranking and the eighteenth among the defense industry exporting countries, with the resources it allocates for defense and produces 55% of the needs of the Turkish Armed Forces itself.
For countries, effective defense systems are essential for getting and maintaining peace rather than winning a possible war. This may be possible by having weapons with range that will allow them to reach their interests.
Turkey is located in the continents of Europe and Asia, also has borders to Africa. It has to take this geopolitical position into account both when forming defense systems and determining foreign policy goals. In other words, range becomes important when forming weapon systems.
I believe that warhead production should be considered as the beginning of the production of medium and long-range ground-to-air and ground-to-ground missile systems. Turkey's geopolitical position dictates the production of intercontinental ballistic missile systems. Government officials also make investments accordingly.
Q-2. What are turkey's biggest deficiencies in terms of defense industry and external dependence and how should it be resolved?
A-2 Defense industry investments which uses advanced technology are expensive investments as they require extensive research and development "R&D" studies. As a result, while manufacturing countries and companies sell their products, in addition to international control systems, they impose effective restrictions on sales to third countries and supply of spare parts with the agreements made.
Turkey's most important need is to minimize the external dependence of critical parts of its own weapons and vehicles. In order to achieve this, the private sector should be promoted within a plan.
Q-3 Turkey has signed agreements with African countries such as Kenya, Zambia and Uganda in the field of police forces trainings. As ASSAM, what do you think about Turkey's active role in Africa in the field of security?
A-3 Turkey has historical and cultural ties with half of the countries in Africa. In addition, its geopolitical position makes it to be interested in African Countries.
Almost all African countries gained their independence after the World War II. They need support in all areas in order to develop and keep up with the times. They need not only support but also support for free, only for the purpose of ensuring that countries stand on their own feet.
Since 1998, Turkey has put taking a close interest in African Countries among its foreign policy objectives. In order to give momentum to its political, military, cultural and economic relations with African countries, the "Expansion Action Plan to Africa" was prepared, "Strategy for the Development of Economic Relations with African Countries" was prepared at the beginning of 2003 and 2005 was declared as the "Year of Africa".