Turkish Arms Exports Around the World are Booming

Politics | October 7, 2021, Thursday // 17:10
Bulgaria: Turkish Arms Exports Around the World are Booming BBC

The Turkish arms industry is booming, and the country's drones are a real export hit. President Erdogan is proud of the development in the industry, and the army regularly tests new weapons abroad, Deutsche Welle reports.

Baykar, for example, produces the TB2 drone. Last fall, the Azerbaijani army used it in the war against Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh, and according to the military, this helped them quickly take over enemy territory. Only a few weeks later, the Armenian army, equipped with old Russian tanks and missiles, was forced to admit that it was withdrawing.

The head of the company, Haluk Bayraktar, whose brother Seljuk Bayraktar is President Erdogan's son-in-law, is proud to present the company's latest developments at Teknofest. For example, the new drone "Akunji". In an interview with the German public television ARD, Haluk Bayraktar praised the modern technology and high efficiency of this unmanned vehicle in combat conditions.

Pride of the Turkish arms industry

The Turkish people are filled with reservations about President Erdogan's domestic policies, opinion polls suggest his

The Justice and Development Party is currently unlikely to win a majority in parliament. But many Turks take pride in the army and its weapons, especially when they were created and manufactured in Turkey itself.

Many Turks are equally uncritical of Turkish military operations in Syria, Libya or Iraq, where Erdogan usually tests the latest military technology.

The military is giving feedback to the arms industry so that arms manufacturers can make them even more accurate and efficient. This cooperation, which many German companies could only envy, is already bearing good fruit.

Interest in Turkish drones abroad is constantly growing. In addition to Azerbaijan, Turkish drones have been bought by countries such as Poland, Ukraine, Qatar and Tunisia, says Turkish defense expert Hakan Kalach. Turkish TB2 drones were also used during the Libyan civil war, he recalled.

Turkey wants to be a significant regional power

Turkey has made remarkable strides in its defense industry over the past 15 years, Bayraktar said. Technologies have been developed that can successfully compete with the world's leading models. In addition, the Turkish military is no longer so heavily dependent on the import of weapons systems.

From the very beginning of his rule, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been trying to make Turkey a regional hegemon. The Turkish army regularly carries out military operations in places where there is a vacuum left by other military forces. Examples are Turkish operations in northern Syria, Iraq or Libya.

At the same time, Turkey's appetite for arms imports is growing. Berlin says Turkey has long wanted more German weapons technology and production. But the specialized body that approves these deals - the Federal Security Council - very rarely grants Ankara's requests. Turkish military operations over the past few years have raised concerns that Erdogan could misuse German weapons to strengthen his personal power.

In 2020, seven Turkish companies found a place among the top 100 in the ranking of the popular magazine "Defense News". If in 2002 there were 56 arms companies in Turkey, in 2020 there were already 1,500.

Remarkable development of the arms industry

According to the head of the Turkish Exporters' Association, Ismail Gule, in the first six months of this year, Turkey exported arms products to 169 countries. In the first place are the United States, followed by Azerbaijan, the United Arab Emirates, Germany and Bangladesh. During the same period last year, 2020, Turkey managed to export its weapons products to 138 countries around the world. According to Gule, the country's arms exports are expected to grow by 400 percent over the next nine years.

In 2018, Turkey and Pakistan signed a contract for the supply of more than 30 combat helicopters - a joint production of Turkey and Italy. However, the engine is US-British, and Washington is still not giving the green light for the deal because of Turkey's decision to buy Russia's S-400 anti-aircraft system.

Turkish engineers never managed to develop a sufficiently powerful engine. Apparently, this is why the finishing works on the Altai battle tank are failing for the time being. There have been reports that Turkey may eventually buy the tank engine from South Korea. And there is no shortage of buyers for the future Turkish tank: Azerbaijan, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia have already expressed interest.


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Tags: turkey., arms., weapons., politics., drones., russia., Erdogan., German., bayraktar., booming., exports

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