TURKEY

FM Çavuşoğlu: Cutting arms sales to Turkey boosts our defense firms

FM ÇAVUŞOĞLU: CUTTING ARMS SALES TO TURKEY BOOSTS OUR DEFENSE FIRMS

Freezing Germany's weapons exports to Turkey could only strengthen the local Turkish arms industry, said the nation's foreign minister on Tuesday.

Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was responding to remarks by his German counterpart, Sigmar Gabriel, who said Monday that Berlin was putting most arms exports to Turkey "on hold" due to recent bilateral tensions.

"These kinds of approaches actually cause the strengthening of our own defense industry," Çavuşoğlu told a joint press conference in Ankara with his visiting Pakistani counterpart Khawaja Muhammad Asif.

"In this sense we increase national and local production in all areas. We produce our own fighter jets and helicopters. Turkey is never desperate."

Sales by top Turkish arms companies rose by more than 10 percent in 2015, according to an analysis released last December which also put Turkey's ASELSAN and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI) among the world's top 100 arms firms.

Turkish defense and aviation industry exports to Germany alone rose 17 percent year-on-year in the eight months of 2017, the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM) announced last week.

Turkey plans to use only locally designed defense industry technology by 2020, Ismail Demir, undersecretary for the Turkish defense industry, told Anadolu Agency in June.

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