Bringing homeland security, border security, internal security and defence systems issues under one roof, SEDEC was held this year as a virtual event due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Held on 15–17 September, SEDEC 2020 served as a meeting point for end users, public institutions, purchasing committees, main contractors and other sectoral organizations. During the event which was followed by 2,500 people from approximately 35 countries, 254 companies and institutions from 24 countries engaged in a combined total of 700 bilateral business meetings.
The opening session of the event was held on 15 September and was broadcasted live on the SEDEC and Türksat YouTube channels as well as on the Türksat satellite channel. Opening remarks were delivered by Dr. Celal Sami Tüfekçi, Vice President of Defence Industries; Lieutenant General (R) Sadiq Ali, Secretary General of the Ministry of Defence Production of Pakistan; Johni Asadoma, Head of the International Relations Department of the Indonesian National Police; Abdullah Naki Polat, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Defence and Aerospace Industry Exporters’ Association (SSI); Gürsel Baran, Chairman of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce; Hasan Gültekin, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Teknopark Ankara; and Hilal Ünal, SEDEC Coordinator.
MSI TDR was the Official Publication and Press Sponsor of the event, which was supported also by such institutions and organizations as the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB), the Ministry of Interior, the Defence and Aerospace Industry Exporters’ Association (SSI), the Defence and Aerospace Industry Manufacturers Association (SaSaD), STM, TRTEST, Türksat and SAHA Istanbul. Among the institutions and organizations taking part at the event were the Ministry of Defence, the Service Commands, the Turkish National Police, Coast Guard Command, KOSGEB, AFAD and ASFAT.
The Ecosystem Must Grow for the Development of the Sector
Dr. Celal Sami Tüfekçi, Vice President of Defence Industries, stressed that the ecosystem must grow if the Turkish defence and aerospace sector is to become fully independent: “Today as everyone knows, turkey is advancing well in defence industry producing its own platforms and systems including indigenously developed technologies. We had some dependencies on exported items. Today we wanted to generate total independence by focusing on developing the subsystems with critical technologies. We want to be a leading country in the world with our design and production power in the near future. For this we need to strengthen and grow our ecosystem.”
After summarizing the works of the SSB aimed at improving the Turkish defence and aerospace ecosystem, Dr. Tüfekçi moved on to the exports being made by the sector: “The platforms, systems and capabilities of our companies are demanded by international markets, especially friendly countries. This shows in the numbers. We recently passed the 3 billion dollars export mark. Our objective is to get over 10 billion dollars in 2023, which I believe we will be able to achieve because in the recent years we have a big acceleration in the export sales.”
Security and Cooperation between Countries
Lieutenant General (R) Sadiq Ali, Secretary General of the Ministry of Defence Production of Pakistan, emphasised that the importance of cooperation had increased with the change in way countries perceive security: “Transforming geostrategic environment, revolution in military affairs evolving technologies, and even dynamic means and matters of warfare have further created the already complex security of countries thus necessitates cooperative mechanism, especially in defence technologies and innovations. It is in this context the importance of such exhibitions has increased exponentially. SEDEC is an excellent platform enabling the connectivity of supply chain the key system developers, practitioners, analyst and trade visitors.”
SEDEC – An Effective Platform that Brings Players Together
Chief Police Inspector Johni Asadoma, Head of the International Relations Department of the Indonesian National Police, applauded SEDEC’s success in bringing together the different stakeholders in the sector, and said: “We are currently facing a global pandemic of Covid-19 virus. Which up until now, has threatened our lives. Because of this we cannot meet face to face for more effective communication. However, this virtual meeting will also give us a chance for better cooperation. As we know SEDEC is an effective platform that enables the connection of the supply chain, main industry producers, retailers and users. We will use this opportunity, to build a cooperation between Indonesia and companies in Turkey.”
Defence and Aerospace Exports Decrease by 26% During the Pandemic
Abdullah Naki Polat, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the SSI, stated that SEDEC could provide new cooperation opportunities for the sector, which has been adversely affected by the pandemic: “Covid-19 pandemic has a negative impact on almost all players of the defence and aerospace sector. Especially for commercial aerospace and civil aviation sector. Turkish defence and aerospace exports decreased by 26% in the first eight months of this year. If you compare with the last year’s figures. We believe that the recovery will take a few years. I hope that this SEDEC exhibition, which brings together, main suppliers, OEMs and sub-contractors operating in homeland security, border security and internal security systems, will lead to new collaborations especially for SMEs in the supply chain.”
The Heart of Defence and Aerospace Beats in Ankara
Gürsel Baran, Chairman of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce, emphasised the success of the sector in recent years, as well as Ankara’s position in the defence and aerospace sector: “The defence sector of a country is a strategically important asset. In Turkey, the defence sector, which has been dependent on imports for many years, has made great progress, increasing its turnover, export performance and R&D-oriented investments. In this process, Ankara has become both the base of, and the gateway to, the defence sector. Most of Turkey’s leading defence industry companies are based in Ankara. In the face of the challenges being experienced around the world due to the pandemic, the international success of our defence sector has made us proud.”
18 Companies Participate from Teknopark Ankara
In his speech, Hasan Gültekin, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Teknopark Ankara, said: “Since 2017, Teknopark has offered its endless support to the SEDEC project and has done its best to make it happen successfully. Aside from this support, 18 of our companies are participating in the event, and I believe the contributions to those who participate will be great. As a result of the exchanges of information that will take place during the bilateral meetings, the companies will increase their technological competences and capabilities. Our greatest wish is to see the development of their export capacities as their capabilities increase. We will all be able to witness the achievements of the Teknopark Ankara companies.”
“Right People, Right Work in a Short Time!”
In her speech, SEDEC Coordinator Hilal Ünal, after touching upon the unprecedented situation being experienced around the world, explained the meaning of the slogan “Right People, Right Work in a Short Time!” of SEDEC as follows: “We all see how important security is in these unprecedented times. Ensuring the security of the world, country, and the city we live in has become the most important agenda item for all nations. To achieve this, it is important to develop technology to use developing technologies and to spread it to the base. One of the factors that is provided for these kinds of things are events. Events when intelligently designed and planned are the most appropriate environments to develop the sectors. With the right efficiency, we can fit the path that the industry will take in five to six years in a year. Because when the technology, industry end users and policy makers come together, development gains momentum.”