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By 2023 Turkey’s defense industry targets $27 billion in turnover, $10 billion in exports and employment for approximately 80,000 people, according to Ismail Demir, the chairperson of the Presidency of the Defense Industries (SSB).

In comparison, current Turkish defense exports total $3 billion and turnover is $12 billion.

Turkey is currently carrying out 700 projects with defense firms that has a $60 billion volume, Demir said during a virtual defense industry meeting organized this year for the third time by the Istanbul Defense and Aerospace Cluster Association (SAHA) in cooperation with the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce (ITO).

Turkish drones have attracted worldwide attention after their wide usage in Libya and Nagorno Karabakh. U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has called the drones “game-changer.”

“The world would soon see Bayraktar and Anka combat drones flying over European airspace and be operated by the EU countries,” said Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank.

Saying that the spending of the global defense industry exceeded $2 trillion (TL 14 trillion) as of 2019, Varank noted: “The turnover of the defense and aviation industry in our country rose to $12 billion. Our exports, which were $340 million in 2005, have reached $3 billion today.”

The ministry supported 813 defense industry projects worth around TL 5 billion ($674.8 million) with the programs carried out through the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK), he said.

The Order-Based R&D Support Program, which has a high commercialization potential and provides co-financing support for customer-ready research and development (R&D) projects, is currently evaluating the process of 14 applications from the defense industry, Varank said, adding they will provide support of up to TL 2.5 million ($337,400) per project.

He added that, through the Small and Medium Enterprises Development and Support Administration (KOSGEB), they have provided resources to 131 companies operating in the defense industry in the last two years alone.

The ministry issued incentive certificates for 346 projects with an investment of TL 8 billion in the last eight years in the field of the defense industry, the minister added.

“Our defense industry project volume, which was $5.5 billion in 2002, reached $60 billion today,” Varank stressed.