ANKARA, Turkey — One of Turkey’s leading armored vehicles producers, the privately-owned BMC, has been granted a  was given land to relocate its plant, a government minister said.

Turkey’s Science, Industry and Technology Minister Fikri Isik has said that the government decided to allocate a 222-hectares land to the company in support of its expansion plans.

BMC will relocate from Izmir on Turkey’s western coast to Sakarya in southeast of Istanbul.

Isik said that BMC’s new factory will become operational within the next two years.

He said BMC will invest 1.3 billion liras (approximately $430 million) in its new plant and employ 4,000 personnel.

BMC is owned by businessman Ethem Sancak who has very close ties with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

It will be one of the bidders in a bidding for the serial production of the Altay, Turkey's first indigenous, new-generation battle tank. The program will involve the production of 1,000 tanks with an initial batch of 250.

Sancak said earlier that BMC would bid with partners, which he declined to name. But he hinted that his partners may include foreign manufacturers that "would not object to export licenses and local production."

The Altay was developed by Otokar, a rival of BMC. The Turkish government commissioned Otokar to build four Altay prototypes under a $500 million program. The tanks are now undergoing field tests.

Recently, Otokar made a proposal to the procurement authorities for the serial production of the Altay but the bidding process has not yet taken off.

Burak Ege Bekdil was the Turkey correspondent for Defense News.

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