Turkey eyes $1 BLN in defense exports next year
State Minister for Foreign Trade Minister Zafer Caglayan yesterday said current projections show Turkey's defense industry exports next year will easily exceed $1 billion. Speaking at a press conference in Ankara to promote this October's Second Equipment Expo of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and the Ankara Industry Fair, Caglayan added that defense industry earnings next year would reach $3 billion, up from $2.3 billion projected this year, compared to $832 million in 2009 and just $248 million in 2002. He was accompanied at the press conference by Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul and Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek. Caglayan said the TSK procured 46 percent of its defense requirements from national producers in 2009, up from as low as 20 percent in the past. Reviewing the recent "rapid developments" in Turkey's defense industry, he highlighted a deal paving the way for the production of F-35 Lightning II jet engines in Turkey. He also cited a deal between Pratt & Whitney – a division of United Technologies Corporation responsible for the production of F-135 jet engines for the Joint Strike Fighter Program – and Turkey's Kale Group to jointly open a factory in Turkey. Pratt & Whitney, the maker of jet engines for the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor, and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, as well as the C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft, decided to invest in Turkey during Caglayan's recent visit to the US. Caglayan said Pratt & Whitney and the Kale Group will start producing the F-135 engines for the F-35 jets in a joint investment, the majority of which will be undertaken by the Kale Group. He also said that the engines would initially be partially produced in Turkey, but that the Turkish company would later undertake the entire production process. Caglayan further said United Technologies is planning to open a Sikorsky factory in Turkey and is currently doing feasibility studies jointly with Turkish corporations. He said Turkey would export all production coming from such a factory. He also discussed the construction of a fairground in Ankara on 1 million square meters of land, describing this as a dream for many years, ever since he joined the Ankara Chamber of Industry (ASO). Considerable progress has been made on this project, he said. Also addressing the audience, Cicek said that there is no doubt Turkey will have one of the top 10 economies in the world by 2023, the centenary of the Turkish Republic. "Turkey has already surpassed the critical threshold, and our industrialists have played a great role in this success," he said, adding that every province must bring itself in line with the country's projections for 2023.