Sabah – The Turkish defense industry’s recent accomplishments have found their place at this year’s International Defense Industry Fair -IDEF-2013 in Istanbul, a key international exhibition for showcasing the latest equipment and systems in the global arms market.
The fair has included an increasing number of local firms during the last decade, as Turkey pursues a strategy of building a national defense industry that can address country’s defense requirements with domestically developed and manufactured solutions.
Employing over 21,000 engineers in research and development duties, Turkey’s defense companies unveiled weapons systems ranging from main battle tanks to unmanned aerial vehicles at the fair, which brought together 708 firms from a total of 50 countries. High-ranking delegations from 81 countries visiting the fair are expected to sign contracts worth billions during the event held between May 7-10.
As of this year, Turkey has around 2300 defense-related firms in operation, compared to just 40 in 2000. Largely made up of SMEs, Turkey’s booming defense industry went far beyond supplying just the Turkish armed forces and turned into a global player with exports reaching USD 1.3 billion last year, up 43 percent over 2011.