Trend Arabic News Service head Rufiz Hafizoglu
Turkey has made significant progress in many areas, especially in the economic sphere during 2012.
As a result of reforms in the country, significant progress was achieved in the defense industry. The launch of Altay tank production, mobile outposts that have worked well in the fight against the PKK terrorist organization, the local production of pistols, "ANKA" drones and other military equipment can be listed as examples of a breakthrough in this field.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan noted that Turkey has become one of the leading exporters of defense products.
Along with that Turkish officials stressed that the military equipment produced in the country is of great interest for neighboring countries.
In November 2012 it was announced that Cairo will purchase 10 unmanned military airplanes from Ankara based on an agreement between Turkey and Egypt.
According to statistics, exports of Turkish defense products increased by 35.7 percent in 2012 compared with the previous year, reaching $ 1.2 billion.
Furthermore, the information states that the UAE ($ 101 million) and Saudi Arabia ($ 99 million) are amongst the countries importing Turkish military equipment.
Iraq which is considered as the main support base of the PKK terrorist organization and which does not have good relations with Turkey is also among the importing countries.
In general, reforms have been carried out in the Turkish defense industry for several years now, their implementation began in 2009, and Turkey plans to become a leader in the production of military equipment by 2016.
Thus, there is every reason to say that Ankara will strengthen the work in military industrialization. Construction of military ships, vessels for protection of coastal zones as well as construction of new military ports will be one of the many directions in this area.
Major changes are also expected in air defense field of Turkey in 2013. The Turkish Defense Ministry has set a goal to renew the entire military equipment this year, especially military aircraft and helicopters. The ministry plans to do this on the account of locally produced equipment. In addition, the ministry intends to sell upgraded military equipment to other countries.
Thus, Turkey which is a NATO member and has the real potential to become an influential country in the region, will continue to pursue the development of its defense industry.