Turkey's defense and aerospace industry, which went through a profound transformation to domestically manufacture a series of military platforms, has picked up from where it left off in 2018. Posting an all-time high in exports before the year's end in 2018, Turkey's total defense and aerospace exports have now seen a 35.3 percent year-on-year increase in the first two months of the year. The total exports of the industry, which sells major land, air and marine platforms to foreign militaries, amounted to $346.5 million in the January-February period of this year, according to the Turkish Exporters' Assembly (TİM). The same figure stood at $256.2 million in the first two months of 2018.
Turkey's capital Ankara, which can also be called the capital of the defense industry exports, took the lead in the industry's exports and undertook almost half of the country's export figure in this area in the said period. The capital was responsible for $181.7 million of the total export figure, recording an increase of 40.2 percent compared to the previous year.
The U.S. was the top destination for Turkish defense and aerospace industry exports in the said period with $127.32 million, with a 33.64 percent rise compared to $95.27 million in the January-February period of last year.
The industry also saw its exports to Oman increase by 240.66 percent year-on-year, reaching $69.25 million compared to $20.33 million in the first two months of last year.
Among others, industry's exports to the U.K. also saw a 31.15 percent year-on-year increase and totaled around $13.79 million. Exports to Germany, another major market, saw a slight increase of 3.62 percent to reach $37.91 million.
The industry also saw its exports to Qatar hit $10.16 million in the January-February period, with a 28.22 increase year-on-year.
Exports to Poland and Russia skyrocketed by 920.27 percent and 810.64 percent to almost $8 million and $11.22 million, respectively.
The western province of Eskişehir came second in the country's defense and aerospace exports with $72.6 million, followed by Istanbul with $55.5 million, Antalya with $13.7 million and Konya with $6.7 million.
In the January-February period of this year, 31 provinces took part in the defense and aerospace exports, while 10 of these provinces, including Ankara, Eskişehir, Istanbul, Antalya and Konya, as well as İzmir, Burdur, Gaziantep, Balıkesir and Giresun, amounted to $1 million. Giresun spearheaded the provinces that boosted exports in the first two months of the year compared to the same period of 2018. Giresun's exports, which amounted to $45,000 in the January-February period of 2018, recorded almost a 26-fold increase, reaching $1.2 million.
On the other hand, Artvin, Malatya, Çorum, Van, İsparta and Tekirdağ, which scored zero in defense and aviation exports last year, generated a total of $459,000 in the January-February period of this year.
As a result of accelerating efforts, the export performance of the sector in 2018 increased by 17 percent compared to 2017. The industry broke its own record of $1.7 billion in November and moved the record to $2.03 billion at the end of the year.
The defense and aerospace industry, whose export performance has been hovering around $1.5 billion to $2 billion for some time, exceeded the threshold of $2 billion for the first time.
The industry's exports stood at $1.2 billion in 2012, $1.3 billion in 2013 and $1.6 billion in 2014, 2015 and 2016, respectively.