Türkiye to accelerate ongoing defense projects: President Erdogan

Türkiye to accelerate ongoing defense projects: President Erdogan

Country's dependence on imports for defense has reduced to 20% from 80% 21 years ago, says Turkish president

By Gokhan Ergocun

ISTANBUL (AA) - Türkiye will accelerate ongoing defense projects and find solutions for the sector's requirements, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the 16th International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF) in Istanbul, Erdogan said the prototypes will be tested for domestic use and exports.

The four-day event, starting on Tuesday, exhibited cutting-edge technologies, systems and products in the defense and aerospace fields.

Touching on the country's advanced fighter jet Kaan, Erdogan said the aircraft will make its maiden flight by the end of this year.

For years, he said, Türkiye was unable to use the weapons it imported to fight terrorism.

"We have been subjected to secret and obvious embargoes, we have been the victims of unfair and unlawful restrictions," he said.

"We have experienced double standards, injustice and disloyalty, in the face of these, we did not give up, we never turned from our path," Erdogan added.

While the country's dependence ratio was at 80% in the defense field 21 years ago, this ratio is around 20% currently, he said.

During the 21-year period, Türkiye has achieved many successes, victories and manufactured defense products that were once an unimaginable feat, the president said.

- International delegations

He said IDEF hosted delegations from 81 countries as well as NATO, the Africa League and the Turkish-American Business Council.

Some 741 delegates from 189 delegations visited the event, while 1,461 companies, of which 772 are foreign, exhibited their products and systems at the event, he added.

IDEF, where 5,000 business meetings were held in the 2023 edition, became a global brand in its field, Erdogan said.

The next event, the 17th IDEF, will be a platform for realizing Türkiye's targets, he said.

- Türkiye model in defense relations

He said they have developed a Türkiye model in defense industry cooperation exactly like they did in humanitarian aid.

The country's target is not only selling products but also making medium- and long-term cooperation, he said.

Erdogan underlined that Türkiye does not agree with a trade method where one side is the producer and one side is always the customer.

Türkiye aims to establish relations based on mutual benefit, he added.

"It is not right to use such a vital issue as security as an element of threat and pressure between countries," he said.

Erdogan said that everyone should be able to meet their security needs easily as long as they remain legitimate and within the law.

"That's why we will continue to share our capabilities with friendly and brotherly countries," he said.

"We will stand by all our friends while meeting our own needs," he added.

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