Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey

Turkish and US defense industry representatives convene at TOBB

04.02.2019 / Ankara

Turkey - US Aerospace, Aviation & Defense Sectors Meeting was held at the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) Reception Hall. Opportunities for cooperation were discussed at the meeting which began with the opening speeches of TOBB Board Treasurer Faik Yavuz, Presidential Defense Industry Department Vice-President Serdar Demirel, US Embassy Commercial Counselor William Czajkowski, US Chamber of Commerce Middle East and Turkey Department Senior Vice President Khush Choksy, ATC Chairman General James Logan Jones and TOBB Defense Industry Sector Council President Yılmaz Küçükseyhan.​

In his speech, TOBB Board of Directors Treasurer Faik Yavuz stated that both countries are important for each other and said, “We are trying to improve our relations. The investments of both countries are increasing day by day. We organized a large number of events in order to strengthen our relations. From time to time, we witness developments that test our relations. We see that there are problems in cooperation in Syria. We would like to work more with our ally, the United States. We are disturbed by the fact that the concept of trade wars have come to the fore. Turkey's trade with the United States continually results in trade surplus. However, the US has enacted a 25% tax hike on steel imports from Turkey. An exemption in this policy for Turkey will strengthen bilateral relations. We’ve talked with the US Chamber of Commerce for a long period of free trade, but today we are discussing restrictions imposed on imports of iron and steel. This is extremely sad.”

- Turkey as F-35 fighter jet project designer

Presidential Defense Industry Department Vice-President Serdar Demirel said, “The development of the Turkish defense industry dates back to 1453, however the modern iteration of this is observed in the 1980’s. When we look at the past 15 years, we see achievements in defense industry accelerating upwards. We see that we are becoming one of the top 10 defense industry producers in the world. It is clear that we are one of the global players in this field. Turkey is involved as a design partner with the US in the F-35 aircraft project. We consider this as good cooperation. At this stage we should develop defense industry products together and market to third countries. Turkey and the US are two partners on different continents of the world with many common goals. In this context, I hope that our cooperation volume in defense industry and trade will increase.”

- We learned to fish by ourselves

TOBB Defense Industry Sector Council President Yılmaz Küçükseyhan said, “We see that the two countries are friends and allies. The partnership of Turkey and the United States is based on mutual interest and respect. Economic cooperation needs to be taken into account. When we look at the trade volume in the previous periods, it was around 21 billion USD. This should be considered in terms of win-win. We see that our defense industry has made significant progress despite the embargoes since 1974. We learned how to fish by ourselves because of the embargos after 1974. This has brought our defense industry to a certain point. We now meet the domestic military defense industry demand by 68%. Friendship, alliance, strategic partnership and regional symmetrical or asymmetric threats should be acted against in mutual trust and cooperation. We must act as an ambassador for the development and maintenance of the value expressed between the two countries and strengthen our relations. The only country which we’ve not fought is the US. We have always worked together for the independence of our countries in NATO and other issues.”

- “Our partnership, our communities and our cultures are strong”

ATC Chairman General James Logan Jones, stating that the strategic importance of relations between the United States and Turkey have never been brought into question, said, “Despite various obstacles on our path, this is not just a military alliance but the friendship of two countries of common values which aims for freedom for the world to be a better place. This plays an important role not only in the defense industry but also in the private sector. We have to continue the development of relations. To this end, our partnership, our communities and our cultures are strong. I'm happy to be in Turkey again. We hope that these talks will contribute to our relations.”

- “Approximately 1,700 companies cooperating with Turkey”

US Chamber of Commerce Middle East and Turkey Department Senior Vice President Khush Choksy noting the importance of cooperation, said, “We look forward to our meetings this week. We will cooperate as Turkish and American defense companies. We think the US business world can play an important role here. Approximately 1,700 companies are cooperating with Turkey. As the US Chamber of Commerce, we think that high level trade relations should continue. We think that high-level economic and intergovernmental dialogue should be revived. We worked together in the past with TOBB. We are working on the arrangements for companies from Turkey to visit the US.”

 - “There is a large trade volume”

William Czajkowski, Commercial Counselor of the US Embassy, ​​said, “It is really a pleasure to be here. The reasons for this trade mission visit to Turkey is because this sector is vital for both in Turkey and America. This trade mission is an extension of the endeavors the Turkish government and Turkish industry and the US industry and government to deal with threats. We want to expand this cooperation. We have been conducting defense industry trade missions for several years. We know that US and Turkish companies work together. There may be differences in regards to the defense industries in the United States and Turkey, but we must not focus solely on them. There is a large trade volume to be found here. The defense industry relations between the US and Turkey have grown even more last year. Better and more can be accomplished. US companies will provide support for Turkey's land, sea and air missile defense systems.”

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