Minister Canikli: National defense industry growing

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 27.09.2017 20:04

With a booming local defense industry, Turkey is well capable of facing any threat to its national security, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said.

Speaking to the Turkish daily Yeni Şafak, Canikli said the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have grown in strength and mobility because of steps taken in recent years and improvement in domestic production capabilities. He added that "the embargos imposed on Turkey by some of its allies would not keep us out of our way."

Canikli underlined that Turkey has seen the domestic production of some defense equipment increase over 65 percent and said that Turkey is a rapidly developing country in the field of defense.

He added that embargos on some products and spare parts cannot derail but may only delay some of Turkey's weapons development programs. He also stressed that Turkey was competing with the best in the industry in some product categories, such as unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAV) or simply known as drones.

The minister said the accelerated effort in the defense industry has also provided essential advantages in Turkey's fight against terrorism.

Commenting on the criticism directed at the armed drones, Canikli said an effective use of this new generation of weapons have concerned people who directly or indirectly support terrorist groups, underscoring that it was unacceptable to support terrorism under the pretext of human rights. Recently, Republican People's Party (CHP) Istanbul Deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu criticized the use of armed drones, claiming some innocent civilians were killed in drone operations.

In reply, the Turkish General Staff issued a written statement claiming that no civilians had been killed or harmed in the operations conducted against terrorists, rebuffing the deputy's allegations.

Canikli reiterated that with its new products and recent developments, Turkey's defense industry will help the country continue its battle against terrorism.

Touching upon the U.S.' military support for the PKK-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD), Canikli said a substantial part of the listed weapons has been delivered to the terror group, despite repeated warnings from Turkey. He added that unless these weapons were returned they would be eventually be pointed at Turkey.

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