ANKARA — Turkey’s defense and aerospace exports in the first half of 2022 reached a record high of almost $2 billion, up 48 percent from the same period in 2021, official statistics revealed on July 19.

According to the Turkish Exporters’ Assembly (TIM), Turkish exports may come close to or exceed the $4 billion mark by the end of 2022, an annual all-time high.

“The rise in exports, which came after two years of decline during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, should be attributed primarily to aerospace, and home-made drones in particular,” said Ozgur Eksi, an Ankara-based defense analyst. “These numbers tell us that the Turkish industry’s dependence on local sales is diminishing and exports are helping Turkish companies to become self-sufficient.”

Turkey has supplied 96 drones to international clients, including Poland, the first European buyer of the famed TB-2, developed by Baykar Makina. Defense industry officials say potential buyers of Turkish-made drones include the United Kingdom, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Saudi Arabia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Slovakia, Uruguay, and Albania.

According to SaSaD, an umbrella organization for Turkey’s defense and aerospace manufacturers, total business in 2021 reached $10.1 billion. Exports totaled to $3.2 billion, exceeding imports, at $2.6 billion, by 23 percent. Turkish companies won new orders worth $8.5 billion in the same year. The industry employs 75,000 people and spends $1.6 billion annually on research and development.

Burak Ege Bekdil was the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.

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