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EXCLUSIVE | Dr İsmail DEMİR

Turkey, which has the largest country pavilion at LIMA, has inked numerous agreements at the show and considers them as a stepping stone for future business. “We are looking to have a strong presence here in Malaysia and have a partnership model here. We have observed serious intention here from the Malaysian Government, as well as the companies that they have been considering seriously to move forward together,” says Dr İsmail DEMİR, President of Defence Industries in an exclusive chat with Jay Menon and Atul Chandra of Daily News, on the sidelines of the ongoing LIMA.

On Growth of Turkish Defence Industry

The Turkish defence industry structure is based on a different approach. This means that the defence industry management is given to our authority ‘Presidency of Defence Industries’, where we oversee the development of the entire defence industrial base, private sector as well as government sector companies. Improving export opportunities is also one of the duties given to us by law.  This structure has helped accelerate the growth of our defence industries and has been supported by our government for a long time, which has been a driver for our growth in the defence sector.

On Effort to Boost Exports

As part of the effort to boost our exports ,we look to participate and have a strong presence at different defence exhibitions worldwide. Turkey was earlier not well known as an exporter of defence equipment. Today, with our current developments , technological capabilities and products that we have developed for our armed forces, we believe that we are now a strong contender in the global defence market for defence products. One of the important targets for us in terms of defence exports is South East Asia. Therefore, we are showcasing our products here in Malaysia with whom we have very friendly relations. In fact, we have very good relations with several countries in the region. We are very aware of the aspirations of countries in the region to achieve technological excellence in the defence industry.

Our’s is Not Just a Buyer Seller Relationship

We have had many LOA’s, MoU’s and agreements signed at LIMA 2019. This is very important for us. In this field, you may not expect to come to some exhibitions and make a big sale. It is a stage by stage process and hence we consider these agreements as stepping stones to future business. We are looking to have a strong presence here in Malaysia and have a partnership model here. We have observed serious intention here from the Malaysian Government, as well as the companies that they have been seriously considering to move forward together. We have signed more than 10 different protocols, MOU’s and agreements and we will follow the next steps for each of these agreements. We want to follow up and overcome any obstacles that may emerge.

Importance of Self Reliance

I use the term ‘developing technology together’ based on your current level and both partners try to use their advantages to increase their capability and grow to the next level together. We have a long experience of being a consumer of defence products imported from abroad and we are aware of the handicaps and difficulties that come with these products, where we must depend on others not only in the short term but also for the long term. There is a very high material cost and human resource cost associated with such programmes. Hence in this region, we are offering the benefits of the experience that we have been through ourselves and in our products. We are removing those negative experiences, that we have gone through and that some of our friends in the region have gone through.

On IDEF 2019

The International Defence Industry Fair, which begins on April 30, is very important to us for two reasons; It is a showcase of the Turkish defence industry at home. While we are going around the world to showcase our defence technologies, only our larger companies can afford to attend these shows. So, at IDEF, our smaller companies and SME’s get an opportunity to showcase their capabilities. The other part is that the other companies from around the world come to Turkey to see what we have and so it becomes a breeding ground for future opportunities, as we are also open to share our activities and have joint activities in Turkey.

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