Turkey’s defence industry ‘highly significant issue’ for diplomacy – Demir

Turkey’s defence industry plays a significant role in the country’s ability to build and expand ties with other countries and carry out diplomacy, İsmail Demir, the chairperson of Turkey’s Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB), said on Saturday, pro-government Daily Sabah news outlet reported.

“The issue of the defence industry is a highly significant issue in diplomacy,” Demir said to reporters at the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum. 

“The defence industry is not a sole technical area, it influences relations with other countries,” he added. “Although it is a closed area, sometimes it can open doors or can be an important power for discussions on the table.” 

He said that a country is as strong in negotiations as its defence industry is in the field. 

Turkey’s arms industry has hugely expanded in recent years, most notably through its development of formidable locally built drones. Moreover, it is exporting these drones to an increasing number of countries, including fellow NATO member Poland

In particular, Demir said that African countries view Turkey’s defence industry positively, which helps Ankara enhance bilateral relations with countries on that continent. He argued that this is more valuable than the money Turkey makes from exporting arms. 

“The export of defence industry products is one issue, but on the other side, the deep relations we build with those countries is of more importance,” he said. “The relation that will be established with that country is way more important than figures.” 

Demir also told the reporters that fewer foreign companies market their products to Turkey, which he indicated was a clear sign of how much progress the country’s local arms industry has made in recent years. 

“Now they are not that motivated anymore to sell Turkey products because they know they cannot,” he said. 

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