ANKARA --- Turkey’s defense procurement agency has reviewed the implementation process of 45 projects outlined in the 100-day action plan of the government amid threats by the United States to block the sale of F-35 aircrafts and other military equipment against Ankara’s plans to purchase the S-400 air defense systems from Russia.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan chaired the Defense Industry Executive Committee on Aug. 7, which was attended by senior committee officials, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Chief of Staff Gen. Yaşar Güler. The committee convened for the first time since the Defense Industry Directorate was tied to the presidency under the new government system.
The committee discussed the implementation of 45 projects mentioned by Erdoğan when he unveiled his government’s 100-day action plan on Aug. 3. The plan has 400 items, 48 of which are for the defense industry.
“When we took power, our Undersecretariat for Defense Industries was only able to meet 25 percent of our defense needs. Now, this figure increased to 65 percent. At a time when our country is facing threats and pressure, the field of defense industry will always remain very important for us. Therefore, no matter what the conditions are, the defense industry will be a field in which we will never make concessions from realizing our projects,” Erdoğan had said.
Turkey has been able to produce its own armored vehicles, short-range missile systems, frigates as well as armed drones in the recent years in order to decrease its dependence on foreign suppliers.
Turkey’s works on the defense industry comes at a time when the U.S. is threatening to block the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey over the continued detention of pastor Andrew Brunson and the purchase of S-400 missiles from Russia.
The Undersecretariat for Defense Industries became a directorate by constitutional amendments, which went into effect after Erdoğan took oath of the office as the president of the new presidential system.
After new appointments to top posts, the directorate’s top executive meeting was attended by Akar, Vice President Fuat Oktay, and Defense Industry Directorate Head İsmail Demir.
Güler attended the meeting as the chief of General Staff. Akar, former chief of General Staff, had handed over his rank to Güler after the changes.