Exclusive Interview with the Turkish Deputy Minister of National Defence Muhsin Dere (Part 3: Turkish Defense Industry)

Deputy Minister of National Defence Muhsin Dere made important statements in an exclusive interview with Defensehere. We are publishing this third part of the interview about the Turkish Defense Industry.

Defensehere.com: What is the importance of Military Maintenance Factories for the Turkish Armed Forces? Could you briefly mention the activities of the Military Maintenance Factories?

Deputy Minister of National Defence Muhsin Dere:

In line with the strategies of the Ministry of National Defence, our Military Factories carry out technical and administrative (production planning, engineering, material management, maintenance, operation, supply of materials needed for sustainment, quality system management, budget planning and management, human resources) activities from a single source, manage and coordinate them in a way that prevents duplication.

In order to keep the weapon systems of Land and Air Forces Commands at the highest level; our Military Factories work with the principle of procuring the goods and services needed in a faster, higher quality, safe and cost-effective manner within the scope of modernizing The Turkish Armed Forces’ inventory.

In this context, our Military Factories successfully carry out the production, modernization, maintenance and repair activities of primary tools, weapons, systems, sub-systems in maximum compliance with domestic and national manufacturing criteria and ensure the endurance of our logistics system through the maintenance, repair and preservation of the previously acquired systems in a reliable, continuous and cost-efficient manner.

Defensehere.com: What is the contribution of the developments in the Turkish defense industry specifically to the Peace Support and Protection activities carried out on the international arena in which the TAF rake part?

Deputy Minister of National Defence Muhsin Dere:

The Turkish Armed Forces emerging from the bosom of our noble nation; not only fights for the peace and security of our country and our nation, but also the peace and security of friendly, brotherly, oppressed and aggrieved countries. Our glorious army works with great effort to provide contribution to the global and regional peace by serving in Azerbaijan, Libya, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Qatar, Somalia, Sudan and many other geographies within the scope of UN, NATO, OSCE and bilateral agreements.

In accordance with the bilateral agreement between Turkey and Libya, strategically important steps have been taken towards the protection of our countries’ rights and interests in the Mediterranean Sea, and it has been clearly demonstrated that fait accomplis incidents will not be allowed in the region by keeping the records of maritime jurisdictions. Within the scope of the military cooperation agreement, our troops provide health and humanitarian aid support to our Libyan brothers in addition to military training and consultancy activities.

Given the deep-rooted historical, political and economic relations between the two countries, the continuation of the ceasefire with the political dialogue process and the establishment of peace and stability at the end of this process in Libya is of critical importance for Turkey.

One of the most significant political and military events of 2020 was the liberation of brother Azerbaijan’s native lands from the Armenian occupation which had been occupied for nearly thirty years. Our national support to Azerbaijan's rightful cause, which resulted in a glorious victory by saving the occupied territories in Karabakh, has been an important contribution. A Joint Center has been established in Turkey in line with the agreement between Azerbaijan and Russia for the maintenance of peace, order and stability in the region.

Turkey and Azerbaijan are united and together in grief and pride as a part of the "two states, one nation" understanding. As in the past, Turkey will stand with our Azerbaijani brothers with all its capacity hereinafter.

In this period where we need global and regional stability, we live in a difficult geography where we face many different challenges all at once. Under these conditions Turkey has to develop effective security policies, act decisively and sensitively, take the necessary precautions by perceiving possible risks and threats in a timely and accurate manner, and combat the exposed risks and threats in order to protect its perpetuity and national interest.

In this sense, the Turkish Armed Forces are equipped in the best way possible with all kinds of lands, buildings, facilities, weapons, tools, equipment and personnel that are allocated to them both within the country and abroad.

For this reason, we put great importance on the national and domestic manufacturing efforts in the high-technology defense industry products in terms of design and production. Together with Turkish Armed Forces, we are pertinaciously continuing the domestic and national manufacturing in order to meet the military requirements of our friends and allies.

Ukraine's Defense Industry Relations with Turkey

Defensehere.com: In December 2020, the Ministry of National Defence made a visit to Ukraine, in which you also participated. How do you think the relations between Turkey and Ukraine in the field of defense industry will improve in the upcoming years?

Deputy Minister of National Defence Muhsin Dere:

As it is known, our relations with Ukraine in the recent period are constitutively based on our defense industry cooperation. TB2 SİHA procurement agreement was signed between the Ukrainian Government and Baykar Defense for the use of the Ukrainian Air Force. Likewise, Ukraine has been supplying ASELSAN radios since 2017. However, at this point, efforts are not only made in their sales but also in the production of both SİHA and radios together in Ukraine.

In addition to these projects with Ukraine, some other joint projects remain on the agenda, such as MİLGEM corvette construction, combustion turbine for our military ships and engine production for helicopters and fighter jets.

In this regard, during Ukraine President Volodimir ZELENSKIY’s visit to our President on 16 October 2020, military cooperation and in particular defense industries cooperation became the main topic of conversation, followed by the signing of Declaration of Will on defense industries projects.

Hereinafter, I accompanied our Minister of National Defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs during their Ukraine visit as parts of the quad-summit in December. Lastly, I am thoroughly pleased by hosting Ukraine Deputy Minister of National Defence Oleksandr MYRONIUK on 3 March 2021, in our Ministry and MKEK Gazi Fişek Factory. At this stage, due to the close affiliation we built, we are one step closer towards transforming potential cooperation meetings into concrete projects.

Kazakhstan's Defense Industry Relations with Turkey

Defensehere.com: You have been to Kazakhstan on the first week of February 2021. Would you like to present a brief insight on the topics that were discussed the meeting? How is Kazakhstan’s interest on Turkish defense industry? What kind of steps will be taken regarding the future of defense industry by these two countries?

Deputy Minister of National Defence Muhsin Dere: We are highly aware of the importance of our relationships with Turkic Republics. Kazakhstan is one of the important countries that we render cooperation in several fields. The focus of our visit was to determine the new fields that we can act together in defense industry, and to exchange perspectives. I think we made serious advancements in this regard.

We are giving great effort and working as hard as possible to include the talents of the defense industry ecosystem for both providing value to our economy and supporting our allies precisely on the fields where they have needs in order to contribute to the global and regional peace. In this regard, we keep on conducting result-oriented meetings and projects. I would like to address that as these activities get mature enough, we will share them with the public.

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