As is known, the 11th Development Plan, adopted by the General Assembly of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on 19 July 2019, sets important targets for the defense industry for 2019-2023. In addition, The defense industry is included under the title of "Priority Development Areas" in the development plan of which the Secretariat of the Presidency of Strategy and Budget is conducted. Even this characterization alone is an indication of how important the defense and aerospace industry is for Turkey.
In addition, the Development Plan shows the targets planned to be achieved in 2023, based on 2018. The targets are to increase the following titles.
- Defense and Aviation Industry Turnover from $6.7 billion to $26.9 billion,
- Defense and Aerospace Industry Exports from 2.0 billion dollars to 10.2 billion dollars,
- Defense and Aviation Industry Employment from 44,700 to 79,300 people,
- Defense Industry Locality Rate from 65% to 75%
These targets set in the 11th Development Plan are ambitious targets. Because, in 2023, it is aimed to increase the turnover of the sector to 4 times that of 2018 and to increase its exports to 5 times. Therefore, the goals are ambitious but not unachievable.
The most ambitious of these targets is to increase exports to 5 times. The monthly export figures of the sector for 2021 are as follows:
- January 2021, 166 million 997 thousand dollars,
- February 2021, 233 million 225 thousand dollars,
- March 2021, 247 million 97 thousand dollars,
- April 2021, 302 million 549 thousand dollars
May exports, on the other hand, increased by 51.6% compared to the same month of the previous year and amounted to 170 million 347 thousand dollars. These figures show us that we are approaching step by step towards the 2023 target.
On the other hand, Unmanned aerial vehicles, which played a very important role in the liberation of Nagorno-Karabakh from the occupation of Armenia, revealed the point of the Turkish defense and aviation industry to the whole world. This success will be a factor in opening new export doors.
As we all know, the defense industry is not just about the production and marketing of goods. The experiences gained in this field and the reflection of these experiences in production add value to the product. Finally, although I know that there is fierce competition in this field, as everywhere else, I believe that we will reach our 2023 target.
In order for a product to have a say in the international arena, it must first produce a product with high added value, and at the same time, the product must have a high added value. It is not possible to earn high income from products that everyone can do. Naturally, the product must be produced only by you, and you must have knowledge at all stages from design to production. If you fulfill these conditions, you can talk about the existence of an original and valuable production.
Subsequently, in order for the emerging sector to survive, it must be supported at the beginning. This economic approach, called the "young industries thesis" or the "baby industries thesis", is based on the principle of protecting a sector until it becomes self-sufficient and internationally competitive. Otherwise, these industries will perish before they can grow in the face of overwhelming competition. By applying this strategy, South Korea has trained brands that are known all over the world and are very strong in their field.
The most important point here is to decide how long the protection will continue. Because this time, continuous protection brings up the economic thesis that "protection requires protectionism". The permanently protected sector cannot become open to competition, on the contrary, it becomes a burden on consumers.
In addition, The defense and aviation sector, which we all follow with enthusiasm in our country, must become a "domestic and national" power by applying these two economic theses in appropriate doses. Of course, it is a dream to expect all parts of the product, which consists of very small components, to be produced domestically at the beginning. However, in order to become a global power in this sector, it is necessary to localize these parts and industrial rights in an increasing period.
Unsped Customs Consultancy and Logistics Services Inc. is one of the leading companies in the industry with its on-site R&D Center and applications that make use of modern technology, carrying out approximately 10% of the customs procedures in Turkey, having an extensive service network throughout Turkey and serving almost every sector.
Our company works in cooperation with our stakeholders, who are the leading defense and aerospace industry companies in both the public and private sectors. Our company, which became the first on-site R&D Center in its sector in 2019, aims to offer modern applications such as "Blockchain" and "Artificial Intelligence" to the defense and aerospace sector using high technology. In this context, we also carry out joint projects with our stakeholders operating in the defense industry. In addition, we started our "Turkish Trade Chain" project in order to manage the supply chain with the logic of blockchain in the defense and aviation industry, where information security and accountability are extremely important.
In order to produce a product in the sector, thousands of parts must be brought together. As a result, a product comes out, but each part used in the product is also a product in terms of customs and foreign trade transactions. Each item has its own classification and import or export procedures to be applied based on this classification. Customs transactions are transactions with complex legislation due to their nature and heavy penalties for violations of legislation. At this point, we facilitate the transactions of our stakeholders in the sector, and carry out customs procedures on their behalf.
On the other hand, by informing our stakeholders about the conveniences arising from customs and foreign trade legislation, we offer them easier and less costly solutions for their activities. Again, we guide them to transfer the problems they experience in customs and foreign trade transactions to public institutions.
Besides, our company is among the top 500 service exporters of Turkey. Our goal is; To support our exporters abroad, to raise our service exporter position even higher and to provide sustainable customs clearance and consultancy services at high standards.
In this context, our company, which employs more than 1,400 personnel and is the leader in its sector, continuously grows and provides an average of 10% employment increase per year.
The defense and aerospace industry is a strategically important sector. In this sector, not being dependent on foreign sources, in other words, “self-sufficiency” is important. For this reason, while competitiveness is important in terms of exports, it should not be forgotten that it is a sector where cost/benefit calculations should not be made for the future of the country.
We should release of our minds that while we were in the position of the country that made its own plane in the young Republic of Turkey, then we became the country that stopped automobile production because it lacked gasoline. For this reason, I consider that it is not correct to look at this sector only from an economic point of view.