This story has been updated to reflect more precise figures directly from the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly.
ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s defense and aerospace exports stood at $2.279 billion in 2020, marking an approximate 17 percent decline from $2.74 billion in 2019, official figures have revealed.
The Turkish Exporters’ Assembly, or TIM in its Turkish acronym, said disruption in production, supply and logistics processes due to restrictions imposed over the coronavirus pandemic caused the fall in exports.
In 2020, the defense and aerospace industry accounted for 1.3 percent of Turkey’s overall exports.
TIM said the top market for Turkish manufacturers in 2020 was the United States, with $784.2 million in sales, or about 4 percent less than in 2019.
Turkey’s staunch political ally in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, was the second-largest export market, with sales reaching $260.8 million, marking a 194 percent rise from the previous year.
Another major market was the United Arab Emirates, a Gulf rival to Turkey in foreign policy. Turkish exports to the UAE were at $200.2 million, up 51 percent from 2019.
Locally produced systems meet 70 percent of Turkey’s military’s requirements, compared to 35 percent in 2002. In that same period, the number of defense procurement programs rose from 66 to more than 700, or from $5.5 billion to $70 billion in contract value.
Similarly, defense and aerospace industry turnover went up from less than $1 billion to more than $9 billion, and exports from $248 million to $2.7 billion.
In 2020, there were seven Turkish companies on Defense News’ list of the top 100 defense companies around the world.
The government has declared its defense and aerospace industry exports target as $10.2 billion 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.