Turkey’s exports in the defense and aviation industries combined reached $1.39 billion last year, a 10 percent increase from a year ago, according to data released over the weekend.

Data coming from the Defense Industry Exporters Union (SSİ) on Saturday showed that Turkey’s defense sales overseas grew from $884 million in 2011 to $1.39 billion in 2013. The figures indicate the skyrocketing growth in Turkish defense exports, something that followed significant investments in domestic defense equipment production over the past five years. Evaluating the figures, SSİ Chairman Latif Aral Aliş said in a written statement on Saturday that Turkish defense producers aimed at boosting exports to as high as $25 billion by 2023, the centennial of the foundation of the Turkish Republic.

Turkey’s defense industry has gained momentum in recent years, which has positively affected the expansion of local producers. More local firms have been introducing new products to the market, contributing to Turkey’s goal of relying more on domestic sources than imported products. The lion’s share of the Turkish defense exports last year were from Turkish Aerospace Industries (TUSAŞ), a pioneer in domestic defense product development. TUSAŞ has carried out such projects as Hürkuş, the first domestic basic trainer and ground attack aircraft developed for the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK); ANKA, Turkey’s first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV); and the first domestically developed helicopter, the T-129 attack helicopter. Countries from North America, Central Asia, the Gulf and Southeast Asia were the top buyers of Turkish defense products in 2013. […]