Turkey will completely end dependence on foreign military hardware – Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday said Turkey will end its dependence on foreign-supplied military hardware, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

“We will continue to increase our investments in the defence industry until we completely free our country from foreign dependence,” he said.

He also said that the latest defence projects are the most critical investments ever for the future of Turkey’s indigenous defence industry.

Erdoğan made the comment at an opening ceremony in Ankara for a new maintenance hanger for A400M strategic airlifters, Anadolu said.

In recent years Turkey has made very significant building increasingly sophisticated weapons systems locally. Turkish-made drones have been exported to Azerbaijan and Ukraine and will be sold to fellow NATO alliance member Poland.

Erdoğan repeatedly boasts of Turkey’s growing independence in the defence sector. However, Turkey is still far from independent when it comes to all its defence needs. Even much of the military hardware it builds locally consists of foreign-made components.

“It is not easy to assess precisely the extent to which Turkey’s defence industry is meeting the national military needs,” defence analyst Yvonni-Stefania told the BBC in 2019.

“Yet what Turkey usually calls indigenous systems are, in reality, licence-produced or based on imported sub-components,” she added.

At Thursday’s ceremony, Erdoğan also took the opportunity to reiterate his grievances with countries that cooperate with the Syrian Kurdish YPG group against the Islamic State.

He said that those same countries deny Turkish requests to buy weapons while simultaneously arming the YPG. Turkey maintains that the YPG is an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“We are determined to overcome all the injustices and unlawfulness we encounter in the defence of our homeland by taking matters into our own hands,” Erdoğan said.

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