You can read the interview published in the December 2019 Issue of MSI Turkish Defence Review here:
“We organised SEDEC as a platform for the discussion of the political, technological and industrial aspects of such issues as border, homeland and urban security, which were not previously discussed extensively in Turkey, and have succeeded in doing so.”
Designed as a unique event in terms of its points of focus and the opportunities it provides to the participants, the 2020 outing of the Security and Defence Exhibition (SEDEC) will be held on 2–4 June in Ankara. While 2020 is looking to be a busy year for defence, security and aviation related events, Hilal Ünal Türkan, SEDEC Coordinator, explained to us why SEDEC should be certainly be marked on the calendars of those in the sector.
MSI TDR: SEDEC set out with the goal of “being the first of its kind in the Turkish defence, aerospace and security sector in terms of its focus and concept”. Looking at the first outing of the event in 2018, to what extent do you think SEDEC has achieved this goal?
Hilal ÜNAL TÜRKAN: SEDEC completed its first event with great success in terms of its subject, structure and organisational style. Established with a view to being unique in the sector and in our country, SEDEC is the first and only event to cover the issues of homeland security, internal security and defence systems under a single umbrella. The event fills a significant gap in the Turkish security and defence sector, along with a brand new concept. During the planning of the first outing of SEDEC, our project team determined some strategic goals and the criteria by which its success could be measured. Based on data garnered from the post-event final report, we found that we had managed to meet the defined goals and success criteria established during the preparation phase, of which we were particularly proud.
Although it was being organised for the first time and, as you may recall, its timing fell immediately after the general elections, which were high on the agenda in Turkey, we still managed to attract the participation of military officials and law enforcement agencies from 39 countries involved in the areas of homeland security, border security and defence systems at SEDEC 2018.
The first day of the event saw speeches delivered by distinguished guests from the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB), Frontex, the United Nations, the European Organisation for Security (EOS), the police organisations of foreign countries, and the leading companies involved in the sector, such as ASELSAN, HAVELSAN, Turkish Aerospace, Airbus and Leonardo. The distinguished speakers invited to the event presented details of the latest technologies in homeland and border security, and their applications in other countries.
During the event, which was held exclusively for professionals and was organised as a business platform, a total of 4,200 bilateral business meetings were held.
SEDEC is the only trade fair in Turkey that covers homeland security.
Special Planning for B2B and B2G Meetings
MSI TDR: What changes can we expect to see at SEDEC 2020 from the 2018 event?
Hilal ÜNAL TÜRKAN: SEDEC 2020 will not differ much from SEDEC 2018 in terms of subject or scope; however there are some changes we are planning to make following our evaluations of the first event. For example, we have developed a special algorithm and platform to ensure the B2B (Business to Business) meetings, one of the most important parts of the event, progress in a more effective and accurate manner. The requesting authorities and companies will be able to enter this platform before the event and see the companies they want to meet in line with their demands. They can then request meetings according to the characteristics of companies and institutions and plan their B2B/B2G (Business to Goverment) meetings in advance. We would like to draw particular attention to the concept of B2G – referring to bilateral meetings between firms and public institutions – in that SEDEC is the first and only event to apply this concept in Turkey, in the field of defence and security, and based on the fact that the only, or the biggest, buyers in the sectors targeted by our event are state institutions. In this environment, it is extremely important for companies to conduct bilateral business meetings with local and foreign officials from the security forces and armed forces.
From a broader perspective, SEDEC stands out as unique in this regard on a global scale. In other countries, although there are SEDEC-like events with similar focus and scope, there is almost no other event where bilateral meetings are held in such an organised manner and which serve as such an effective business platform.
Furthermore, last year it was apparent that some companies wanted to showcase larger products at SEDEC, but our exhibition space was limited. This year, we have a larger area on the lower floor of ATO Congresium where companies can showcase the products that they were unable to bring last time due to their tonnage and size.
Ankara is known as the centre of the Turkish defence and security sector, and most of the end users and decision makers are also here. It will thus be very easy for the companies participating at SEDEC to showcase their products and solutions to the end users and decision makers. In 2018, over 450 decision makers visited our fair and held B2G meetings.
There will also be some new features and surprises that we will announce as the event date approaches.
MSI TDR: What figures are you aiming for at SEDEC 2020?
Hilal ÜNAL TÜRKAN: For SEDEC 2020, we focused our approach on procurement authorities, especially in countries where there is export potential for Turkish industries. We believe that the participation of these officials, the meetings to be held, and the business contacts to be established afterwards will make a positive contribution to the development of the sector.
The figures we target for SEDEC 2020 are as follows:
- Number of participating companies: 150–200
- Number of official delegations: 20
- Number of procurement authority committees: 12
- Number of participating countries: 46
- Number of visitors: 2,500
- Number of meetings to be held: 5,000
MSI TDR: Can you share with us details about the conference to be held on the first day of the event?
Hilal ÜNAL TÜRKAN: At the first SEDEC event held in 2018, the keynote speakers were, respectively, Hasan Gültekin, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Teknopark Ankara; Hasan Büyükdede, Chairman of the Board of SAHA Istanbul; Gürsel Baran, Chairman of the Ankara Chamber of Commerce; Mustafa Kaval, Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Defence and Aerospace Industry Exporters’ Association (SSI); and Celal Sami Tüfekçi, Vice President of Defence Industries.
The SEDEC 2018 conference was held over five sessions , during which representatives of the SSB, the United Nations, Frontex, Bell Textron, Telespazio, NATO, EOS, Polyanalytic, Airbus, Baykar, Huğlu, Turkish Technic, Türksat, Turkish Aerospace, ASELSAN, STM, TÜBİTAK, Middle East Technical University and Istanbul Technical University made presentations.
This year’s conference will analyse the existing situation in the sector, and will broach the political and technological issues affecting the sector.
SEDEC Contributes to Company Export Targets
MSI TDR: Considering the current situation in the sector, how will SEDEC 2020 aid the sector in achieving its targets?
Hilal ÜNAL TÜRKAN: First of all, thank you very much for this question. We all live in this country, and our contributions to the country are very valuable and important. We have very serious targets, such as drawing attention to the development of the security sector around the world; developing the security sector in our country; and marketing the products our companies abroad. We already achieved some of these goals in the first event. For example, Turkish manufacturing companies established connections with institutions and organisations abroad, while other Turkish companies with no history of working in the field of defence and security, but with abilities in the development of technologies, identified potential opportunities at the event, and have since entered the sector. We raised awareness in the security sector. Public institutions and organisations in our country in particular had the opportunity to understand the importance of the different components of the security sector. Border security has become one of the most important issues in recent times. When you refer to border security, platforms such as UAVs, as well as satellite communications and all kinds of software and hardware come to mind. All countries are focused on ensuring the safety of their homeland, and this can be achieved through border security. Our territorial borders of 2,753 kilometres, and our coastline of 8,333 kilometres are considerable in length.
SEDEC is an important event that contributes to the development of the country through its support of sectoral growth, its contribution to indigenisation activities, its development of an infrastructure for marketing and export, and its creation of a supply pool, bringing all players together. As the SEDEC team, one of our primary goals is to create an export platform to our country and companies, and to contribute to national development.
By bringing together the requesting authorities and domestic producers in the same platform, we support the retention of the national income within the country, enhance the commercialisation potential of companies, and increase indigenous and national production. We want to make sure that the biggest outcome of the event will be the achievement of all these.
MSI TDR: In Turkey, various institutions and organisations are organising activities in the field of defence and aerospace. How do you position SEDEC in the current event calendar from the perspective of competition or complementarity?
Hilal ÜNAL TÜRKAN: When compared to other events, SEDEC is a first for our country in terms of its organisation, subject and format.
We organised SEDEC with a view to creating a platform for the discussion of the political, technological and industrial aspects of such issues as border, homeland and urban security, which are currently deficient in Turkey, and we have succeeded in doing that. Establishment of an effective platform enables politicians, decision makers, technology developers and producers to integrate with the sector much faster, thus contributing to faster growth in the sector.
With its highly critical position especially at the current conjuncture, SEDEC will contribute to the rapid development of domestic industries by covering such issues as border and homeland security and internal security systems. It is also an effective platform where policy makers, sectoral representatives and technology developers come together. In the rest of the world, these issues are covered under separate and independent events. Each country has a its own defence and security exhibition, and that is why the SSB and SSI have once again steered the sector in a positive direction with their broad vision. We would like to express our thanks to them for supporting this event, which is unique in Turkey with its focus on border and homeland security; where industrialists, end users and especially decision makers meet, leading to an increase in indigenous and national production.
In addition, we are also supported by Teknopark Ankara, the İvedik Organised Industrial Zone and SAHA Istanbul, as well as the related non-governmental organisations and clusters that are of particular value to us. Together, we work together to increase the success of SEDEC and its contribution to the country.
MSI TDR: What other activities that are comparable to SEDEC are organised around the world? Has SEDEC reached a point where it can compete with such events?
Hilal ÜNAL TÜRKAN: Yes, as I just mentioned, each country has its own defence and security exhibition. For example, in France there is an event called Milipol where last November we, as the organisers of SEDEC, took part. Organised for the 21st time this year, the event attracts a large number of participants. There is a similar event in Germany that has been organised for around 40 years, and similar events have been taking place in the United States for many years.
Although we are about to host only the second outing of SEDEC, we have come to realise that its concept is much more beneficial to companies than similar events in other countries. In particular, the B2B meetings, the presence of buyers and the planned meetings with buyers provide an excellent business environment. We are confident that very soon, SEDEC will become one of the most powerful events in its field, not only in Turkey, but also in the region, thanks to the vision and support of the SSB and SSI, and we are working very hard with all stakeholders to achieve this.
MSI TDR: Is there anything you would like to add?
Hilal ÜNAL TÜRKAN: Nowadays, border and homeland security are high on the agenda both in Turkey and in the world, and it is our responsibility to carry out the related R&D, production and technology development works. We offer product manufacturers the opportunity to meet with the end users and procurement authorities from Turkey and from other countries, including representatives of military and police forces, in Ankara. Normally, companies need to spend significant time and financial resources to meet so many key persons individually, and so participating at SEDEC saves them considerable time and resources.
Companies not engaged in the security and defence sectors, but engaged in technology development, and possessing certain appropriate capabilities, can also join SEDEC to familiarise themselves with the field, and even to start working in these sectors. We wish everyone success at SEDEC.
On behalf of our readers, we would like to thank Hilal ÜNAL, SEDEC Coordinator, for taking the time to answer our questions and for providing us with such valuable information.