Defense Industry Secretary of Turkish National Defense Ministry Murat Bayar: “We will start producing sniper gun “Istiqlal” after specification of Turkish Army’s needs”

Defense Industry Secretary of Turkish National Defense Ministry Murat Bayar: “We will start producing sniper gun “Istiqlal” after specification of Turkish Army’s needs”
# 18 October 2011 09:53 (UTC +04:00)
- I would like to learn your opinion about the current opportunities and capacity of Turkish defense industry, which carries out a number of large regional projects. What are Turkey’s targets in this sphere?

- Our main duty is to meet needs of the Turkish armed forces and we are working towards this. We see Azerbaijani armed forces as our own armed forces and consider it ion our activity. The recent developments, specially the sale problems with “Firtina” auxiliary propelled artillery systems, once again showed that military technologies of our production will make our arsenal stronger, but if we purchase some part of the weapons from abroad, it prevents our cooperation.
We have started a number of projects in the past 10 years. And these projects have already brought results and we achieved producing some weapon systems. We can produce all ground transport means, including armored fighting vehicles in Turkey. Azerbaijan border troops import armored personnel carriers from Turkey and they are satisfied with our production. Our navy industry was also strengthened. We are producing coast watching boats, corvettes and other fighting ships. We are working together with Azerbaijani partners to start producing such types of ships in Baku because it is impossible to export it. Turkey made progress in the field of electronic and communication. ASELSAN became one of the world’s leading companies in this field. Azerbaijani Defense Ministry uses a number of communication means produced by ASELSAN. We are discussing this issue now. Aviation is a new sphere for us. We attach importance to the production of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Our armed forces are using mini-UAV of local production. We created prototypes of mid-sized UAV and are going to begin its production. Anka UAV continues test flights. This UAV can fly 24 hours interruptedly. Anka’s first prototype will be prepared within a year. Then we will begin its serial production. Anka have same capacity with US’ Predator, Israel’s Heron. We produced it for our armed forces, but we would like it to serve the Azerbaijani armed forces too.

- Do you have official proposals concerning Azerbaijan’s participation in Altay armored fighting vehicle and Attack helicopter projects? How can Baku join these projects?

- We are discussing this issue now. The cooperation can be in several forms, including joint production. We offered to Azerbaijani government to work out joint engineering projects. Production of Attack helicopters will be started soon. The work on design and improvement of armored fighting vehicles is continued. In 2014, we will see the armored fighting vehicles supplied with modern shooting-control systems.
There are other fields that we can work together, for example, air defense. Turkey is new in this sphere. The cooperation can be established in ASELSAN warning projects. We visited Azerbaijani Defense Industry’s computing device plant in Baku. We have TASMUS warning system project. ASELSAN will research opportunities for its joint production. I would like to note that Azerbaijani President, Prime Minister, Defense Minister have positive opinion about the Turkey-Azerbaijan cooperation in the field of defense industry.
We will share most modern technologies and due to joint production both sides will reduce expenditures. At the same time both countries will have common weapons.

- Azerbaijan and Turkey reached agreement on joint production of infantry weapon, 120-mm mortar launcher and 105-mm air-transportable canon. Please give details about these projects.

- The infantry weapon was designed completely and now is tested. We will start its serial production within a year. We can produce it in Azerbaijan too. Now our ground troops are testing this weapon. It will be more modern and developed weapon that G-3 and Kalashnikov gun. The 105-mm cannon project is in the first phase of development. We will plan its joint production with Azerbaijan. We send our proposals on 120-mm mortar launcher to Azerbaijan. They will start production after researching it.

- What about the production of 12.7-caliber model of “Istiqlal” sniper weapon in Turkey?

- One of the agreements we reached in May, 2011 is related to that. We will start its production after learning the needs of our army.

- What about the navy cooperation?

- Ares Shipyard is holding talks on this issue. Recently Yonca-Onuk had similar talks. Turkey has 5-6 shipyards for producing warships. We think that these shipyards can work for Azerbaijan too. We can produce attacking warships there.

- Dearsan Company also applied for joint production, but their cooperation with another littoral Caspian country prevented its activity.

- Our shipyards are owned by private companies and are working in different countries. Dearsan is a veteran shipyard and has no problem with working in Azerbaijan too. But there are alternatives and we will consider other options.

- At what stage is the joint production project of 107 and 122mm caliber missiles and “Sakarya” missile launcher system with ROKETSAN?
- ROKETSAN made proposals to the Ministry of Defense Industry. Now they assess this proposal. I hope that the positive decision will be passed and we will start the works.

- How much does Turkey forecast the defense export in 2011?
- We forecast USD 1 bln this year. As I said our main goal is not an export, but to meet our requirements.

- Which place does the national production take in the provision of the Turkish armed forces?

- It was 53% in 2010. This number increase from year to year. Our goal was to pass 50% and we have achieved it.

- The observations show that after the “One minute” scandal occurred between Mr. Erdogan and Israeli president in Davos Forum, the new opportunities established for Turkish defense industry in the Middle East and Far East markets.

- The defense industry cooperation is a sphere related with the politics. One country must have the high level relations with another one in order to have cooperation in defense sphere. There are valuable results caused by the policy of our government. Our relations with Middle East and Southern Asian countries have developed very much. As our relations develop, our defense industry find new cooperation spheres for itself. The political relations increase our activity.

- Are there plans of extending the Turkish defense industry to Caucasian and Central Asian republics?

- As I noted, we have high level relations with Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. We have some projects with Georgia and Turkmenistan. Now we don’t have great activities on export to the Central Asia. Our relations will deepen when the time comes.

- Do you face difficulties in the Caucasian and Central Asian markets where Russia, Belarus and Ukraine dominate?

- No. These countries are in the transition period and they try to integrate into the West, NATO. They pass to NATO standards. Turkey is the closest and the most experienced country which can help these countries in this sphere. Of course, some difficulties can occur during transition period. In my opinion, the right way is the leaving the former soviet standards of these countries.

- To what degree is possible the participation of Turkish companies in modernization projects in Azerbaijan?

- We can participate in all spheres of defense industry.

- ASELSAN had certain works on modernization of tanks. But Israel’s “Elbit Systems” won the project.

- May be, ASELSAN made wrong proposals in the commercial accounts. It is impossible that “Elbit” is cheaper than ASELSAN. We hope not to permit such mistakes with working with Azerbaijan closer.

- It is said that “Heron” crisis and the political tension between Israel and Turkey infected the defense projects as well as it is underlined that Turkey will refuse some military projects.

- We don’t have the abolished projects with Israel. But we have the finished projects. Frankly speaking, despite the political crisis with Israel, our cooperation in defense sphere was gradually decreasing, because we have gained achievements in the sectors similar to spheres of activities of Israel. We are able to produce these goods ourselves, for example, IFF, tank modernization and etc. I cans surely say that Turkey has the best tank fire-control system. ASELSAN created it. Now we can’t buy fire-control system from Israel. We can implement the aircraft modernization ourselves. We will not but PUAs from abroad after “Anka” commences production. Now Turkish defense industry can work in the spheres where we needed in Israel’s assistance previously.

- Joint attack aircrafts (JSF – F-35) program faces some problems like increase of expenditures or US’ intention not to give codes to Turkey. What proposals does Turkey have to solve these problems?

- As you know, 9 countries participate in KSF consortium and the problems are only of Turkey, but all 9 countries. This year we are on the eve of making the first order. We are trying to settle some issues on it. There isn’t a bulk order in JSF program. There are annual orders. The first period of delivering the products for us in 2015, and we intend to purchase 6 “F-35” aircrafts. The orders can be less or more. It is right, there is an increase in the financing. Today the Turkish industry produces the clear parts of the aircraft. We want to increase the production in Turkey, because the production in Turkey is cheaper than in the US and the other countries. If we realize it, the fund, which will be spent by 9 countries, will decrease. Now the member countries are considering it. There is a problem on code. I want to note that there are many programs on the warcraft. We want and will buy the some programs used in the operations. We understand that the US doesn’t open the certain codes to any country, as well as to the member countries of consortium. We will not do it either.