ANKARA, Turkey —Turkey's defense and aerospace exports rose by 17.7 percent to $1.648 billion in 2014 from $1.4 billion the year beforein 2013, an umbrella organization for Turkish manufacturers havesaidannounced.

Latif Aral Alis, head of the Turkish Defense and Aerospace Exporters' Association, said that Turkey's arms exports stood at a mere $600 million in 2008.

He said over more than 1,000 Turkish producers employing about 30,000 personnel accounted for 60 percent of Turkey's entire procurement in 2014, compared with only 20 percent local input in the early 2000s.

"In the near future, Turkish products will come more visibly into the world markets' radar," Alis said. "As our new products become available for sale, Turkish exports will grow exponentially."

Turkish companies presently are developing attack and utility helicopters, drones, new generation battle tanks and trainer aircraft.

Turkish defense officials often say they target $25 billion worth of exports by the year 2023, the Turkish republic's centennial, although experts view this goal cautiously.

Burak Ege Bekdil is the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.

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