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Transformation of the Turkish Defense Industry: The Story and Rationale of the Great Rise

Tracing the evolution of the Turkish defense industry through five major periods of development, this article draws attention to crucial turning points such as the Cyprus crisis of 1974, the establishment of SAGEB in 1985, the ongoing fight against terrorism, the restructuring of the Turkish political system and the steadfast commitment of the AK Party governments under President Erdoğan to invest in Turkey’s indigenous defense industry. Since the early 2000s, the Turkish defense industry has shifted from a procurement model largely dependent on foreign imports to a far more self-reliant model with a strong research and development foundation and a growing number of exports. Thanks to the commitment, determination and resilience of Turkey’s engineers, technicians, workers and companies, the Turkish defense industry has transformed into a multi-billion-dollar industry characterized by technological depth and global effectiveness.

Transformation of the Turkish Defense Industry The Story and Rationale
 

 

Introduction

 

The Turkish defense industry has a strong historical background in essence. Within the framework of this background, the positions and policies to build and sustain a robust defense industry have always continued from past to present and preserved their existence, even though they were interrupted at times, even when they were pushed back visibly and even when they remained just a dream. Similarly, the history of the Turkish defense industry has witnessed myriads of breakthroughs, attempts and never-ending persistence at the individual level even if these efforts faltered in continuity at times.

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