By Sevgi Ceren Gokkoyun and Goksel Yildirim
ANKARA (AA) - Turkey will become a defense giant very soon thanks to its investments in the sector for the last five years, the country's technology and industry minister said on Thursday.
"I believe that Turkey's Bayraktar and Anka unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will fly in European skies," Mustafa Varank said during an event jointly organized by the Istanbul Defense and Aerospace Cluster Association and Istanbul Chamber of Industry.
He recalled that Ben Wallace, the UK's secretary of state for defense, had said Turkish UAVs are a "game changer".
Noting that the global defense expenses surpassed $2 trillion last year, he said Turkey's defense and aviation revenue reached $12 billion annually.
The country's defense exports rose from $340 million in 2005 to $3 billion last year, he added.
He said with each passing day the industry was focusing more and more on local production, adding that in 2023 the defense industry will be self-reliant by 75%.
Ismail Demir, the head of Turkey's Defense Industries Presidency, reiterated Turkey meets a large portion of its defense needs with local production.
He said Turkey's 2023 targets for the defense industry are $27 billion in revenue, $10 billion in exports and 80,000 employees.
*Writing by Gokhan Ergocun from Istanbul