Murad Bayar (Courtesy photo)
ANKARA — Murad Bayar, Turkey’s procurement chief since 2004, has been removed from office, according to a government decree published in the Official Gazette March 28.
Sources close to his office said Bayar, head of the powerful Undersecretariat for Defense Industries (SSM), would be appointed as chief adviser to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan or to President Abdullah Gul. The government has not yet appointed his successor.
Bayar and SSM made headlines after Turkey announced in September 2013 that it had chosen China’s FD-2000 air and anti-missile defense system over rival offers from Franco-Italian Eurosam SAMP/T and US-listed Raytheon — at the cost of severe reaction from its NATO allies.
Bayar, formerly a management consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton’s New York office, was Turkey’s longest serving official overseeing multibillion dollar programs.
Bayar started his professional career in 1987 with Turkey’s military-owned electronics company Aselsan, the country’s biggest defense contractor. He worked for SSM between 1989 and 1998 with a portfolio that contained several critical programs, including the attack helicopter contract that he sealed as SSM’s chief.
Bayar’s term in office saw the country’s first efforts to locally design, develop and manufacture systems Turkey traditionally bought off-the-shelf, such as drones, corvettes and main battle tanks.
Bayar raised the stakes as the Turkish industry started to work to indigenously develop a basic trainer aircraft, a fighter jet, missiles, a light helicopter and engines. ■