ANKARA — A top Turkish government body for procurement has approved two multibillion dollar indigenous programs; one for a regional jet and the other for a national fighter aircraft.

The Defense Industry Executive Committee, chaired by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, convened MondayApril 27. The meeting had been called on unusually short notice, the previous Friday, on April 24, a senior official said.

The committee brings together, along with the prime minister, Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz; Army Gen. Necdet Ozel, chief of the military General Staff; Army Gen. Necdet Ozel; and chief procurement official, Ismail Demir. No announcement was made after the meeting.

The procurement official said that the committee gave a critical go-ahead to plans for the design, development and production of an indigenous regional jet, based on a Dornier model, with both military and civilian use.

Turkey hopes to build the Dornier jet-based aircraft for military missions in the Air Force and the Navy. Hundreds of aircraft will be produced for aerial, border and naval surveillance, small cargo transport, and ambulance missions.

The committee also decided to go ahead with the second phase of the country's indigenous fighter jet program. The government will allocate up to $1 billion for the second phase. Turkey wants to fly its "national fighter jet" by 2023.


Burak Ege Bekdil is a Turkey correspondent for Defense News. He has written for Hurriyet Daily News, and worked as Ankara bureau chief for Dow Jones Newswires and CNBC-e television. He is also a fellow at the Middle East Forum and regularly writes for the Middle East Quarterly and Gatestone Institute.