President of the Turkish Defense Industries (SSB) Prof. Dr. Ismail Demir met with members of the press as part of the 2nd Antalya Diplomacy Forum (ADF).
At the press conference attended by SavunmaSanayiST.com, Chairman Demir made crucial remarks regarding the issues on the agenda.
Ukraine and Russia
“It’s hard to say anything in the heat right now. While there is a life and death situation in Ukraine right now, it doesn’t make much sense to talk about projects. We’re on hold, no direct negativity. The construction of a MILGEM type corvette is already underway in Turkey. There’s no problem with this continuing. But of course, there is no environment to talk about at the moment in terms of planning for the future. Our hope is that a ceasefire and peace will be established as soon as possible. Then we’ll talk about the fate of the projects.”
“As for the UAVs, it was seen in various environments where they could perform and what they can do. It doesn’t make sense that UAVs are being brought up, especially when it comes to Ukraine. Because the products we give them are now the property of that country. Countries are, of course, free to use them. The source of the products may be Turkey, but now that product is the property of that country. So far, we have seen the weapons of many countries in various environments. That’s our approach. Our attitude as Turkey is not to fuel the fire. We’re waiting for everyone to go out with a hose and put it out, not fuel the fire.”
Baltic Countries Seek Turkish Drones
“Those countries are currently going through a period of preparation and awareness. We’ve had contact. Everyone’s in a hurry these days. We think they are in the process of creating a list in their heads about which product to buy and how much. The issue of ‘ordering so much from a phalanx of products’ is not on the agenda at the moment. Turkey is the country to be knocked on the door not only for UAVs, but also for many products.”
Latest Situation in Air Defense Systems
“Air strikes occur in every battle. If you can’t stop the air attacks, you can be exposed to many attacks. We say the following about the air defense system: we have 4 types of air defense systems currently in use by our forces. Until 3-4 years ago, this figure was zero. KORKUT, SUNGUR, HİSAR A+ and HİSAR O+ are active.
We conducted the first test shot of SIPER. We will go throguh a process in which SIPER will evolve in a very short time. Our products will be on the field one by one in various range, capability and seeker head models. Air defense is an important issue. Of course, while Turkey has stopped its air attacks with planes until now, it has now acquired very important capabilities in the lower layer.”
Normalization in Defense Industry with Israel
“It’s too early to talk about this. Turkey’s approach is to establish positive relations. We are not a country that imports and is dependent as before. This is true for Israel as well as for other countries. We are determined to reduce the dependency to zero, especially in strategic products. If all the doors in the world were opened on this issue, we would not want them to heap free products.”
F-35 Talks with the USA
“We think that the F-35 issue is closed for us and that whatever the outcome of the talks, we should take matters into our own hands. In our projects such as MMU and HURJET, we have to develop various sub-systems as usual today. We are committed to F-16 modernization, and we can do this.”
ALTAY Main Battle Tank Engine
“The engine of the ALTAY Tank came from South Korea. The engine and its power systems are currently being tested. We are waiting for May. We will see the prototype of the ALTAY tank with that engine in May. There is no regression in that equation.”
Export to Gulf Countries
“It certainly has potential. Regarding the deterioration or tension in relations, Turkey has never been the party that created the tension. The level of Turkey’s products and capabilities is now a well-known and appreciated subject.
We look forward to developments. We’ll see when the day comes. We should not expect results right away, from today to tomorrow. Having common production demands (Gulf Countries) is quite natural. We can implement various formulas for this.”