Justin Vela

Bosporus Blog…Turkey is going for its guns…And drones also…

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Wanting to elevate itself as a regional economic powerhouse and combat an uneven balance of trade, Turkey is, literally, going for its guns.

With an estimated value of $14 billion, Turkey’s military defence industry is on the rise, producing a range of weaponry both for domestic purposes and export.

Turkish media reported today that during January-February 2013 exports of weapons to the United States increased 5.6% over the same period last year.

I wrote about Turkey’s defense industry recently for beyondbrics from the Financial Times.

Not only are spare parts, tanks, helicopters, and boats being produced. The Turkish military just approved the country’s first domestically-made drone for serial production.

Everyone knows the controversy over drones, and the unintended death their attacks from above tend to leave behind.

As I write in beyondbrics:

However, the increase in arms exports has raised some concerns about weapons proliferation in the region. The US Congress has long blocked the sale of drones to Turkey, citing incidents such as the accidental killing of 40 Kurdish civilians from the southern town of Uludere by the Turkish Air Force of in December 2011.

Yet, the Turkish defense industry will keep growing fueled both by regional demand and Turkey’s desire to gain more experience as a producer of advanced technology. As part of its contracts with foreign defense firms, Turkey demands technology and know-how be transferred to its own companies that are involved in the joint production of military products.

It’s a clever system and is powering the domestic defense industry forward, as the below statistics make clear:

Major export markets for Turkey’s defense and aerospace industry

The United States $490 million in 2012, up from $342 in 2011.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) $101 million in 2012, up from $60 million in 2011.

Saudi Arabia $99 million in 2012, down from $108 million in 2011.

Bahrain $91 million in 2012, up from $38 million in 2011.

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Written by Justin Vela

March 11, 2013 at 5:30 pm

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