Turkey maintaining naval deal talk with Saudi Arabia

Turkey is maintaining its close contacts with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia regarding the Turkish-made ATAK helicopter and the national warship project, MILGEM, Defense Industries Undersecretary Ismail Demir told Anadolu Agency's Finance Desk on Tuesday.

"The relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, plus the latest agreement [weapons deal] had no negative effect on Turkey. There is no negative feedback regarding our project [the sale of MILGEM corvettes]. On the contrary, there is consideration of continuing the project," he explained.

Demir's comment came after last week's news of an arms deal worth almost $110 billion between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. and subsequent claims that Saudi Arabia had decided against purchasing MILGEM ships.

Underlining the importance of exports in defense industry sustainability, Demir added:

"We have talked with Saudi Arabia for two or three years. ASELSAN has two joint companies there. More of our companies are about to be formed. This relationship continues. We have exchanged ideas on structuring the defense industry."

Saudi Arabia is in the midst of structuring its defense industry, Demir said, adding, "I think we might play a crucial role in technology transfer, establishment of premises, and training and we can have an important share."

Asked about the progress on acquiring of the S-400 air defense system from Russia, Demir stated that the talks and work on various system continue, and the S-400 is a part of this.

"We would like to talk when there are concrete results. In fact, what people should follow is the future and duration of our national system. We're focused on this, but we're always assessing other options," Demir noted.

Demir stressed that they want to reduce foreign dependency, especially in technology.

Turkey aims to establish a national defense industry using its own resources as part of the country's objectives for its 2023 centennial.

On cyber-security, Demir said they have established a cyber security office under the Defense Industries Undersecretariat.

Foreign dependence in the cyber-security field is high, he said.

"We assigned important duties to our companies. There are several cyber-security projects for the Turkish Armed Forces within our body," he added.

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