Şebnem ASİL / email@example.com
Ümit BAYRAKTAR/ ubayraktar@ milscint.com
K. Burak CODUR / b.codur@ milscint.com
Alper ÇALIK / a.calik@ milscint.com
The Third International Military Radar + Border Security Summit (MRBS) was held in Ankara between 5-6 September. The event was visited by Süleyman Soylu, Minister of Interior, Mustafa Varank, Minister of Industry and Technology, Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir, President of Defence Industries, and they examined almost all booths. The event also brought decision makers and solution providers together.
MRBS was organised by Independent Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association (MUSIAD) Ankara Branch, with the support of Ministry of National Defence and Presidency of Defence Industries and under the auspices of Ministry of Interior. The event continued to grow, compared to the previous events, held in 2018 and 2019, reaching 1,476 visitors and 71 attending companies. The previous two events were held in a hotel; however, this year’s event was held in Tunçalp Özgen Congress and Cultural Center in Beytepe Campus of Hacettepe University, due to increased space needs and industry-university collaboration efforts.
Graph 1. The evolution of visitor and attending company numbers for MRBS (*Number of Visitors have been divided by 10, in order to scale the graph.)
The event was also attended by high level officials such as Muhsin Dere, Deputy Minister of National Defence, Rear Admiral (LH) Ahmet Kendir, Commander of Turkish Coast Guard, and military attachés serving in Ankara. Officials from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Congo, Denmark, France, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Pakistan, Palestine, Serbia, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, TRNC, Ukraine, and the USA was among the visitors as well.
Important Topics for the Sector Were Discussed in Sessions
Within MRBS’21, seven sessions were organised with presentations from sector experts. The titles of the sessions were as follows:
- Anti-Drone Radar Systems
- Terror and Border Security
- Digital Naval Navigation and Communications
- Technologic and Integrated Management of Border Security and Observation Systems of Republic of Turkey
- Border Security Special Technologies
- Coast Net Project
- Innovative Technologies for Border Security against Asymmetrical Threats
The Summit Will Be a Compass and Add Value
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has expressed the following in his message to the event: “Turkey has always been at the crossroads of civilisations and as such, attracted attention from would-be hegemon states with its geostrategic position. Today, too, geopolitics is being shaped by the geography centred on Turkey. Our country has been an example, with its internal peace, economic power, and overbearing military capabilities in a land with widespread strife, conflict, and instability. Turkey has been following the motto ‘Peace in our Land, Peace in the World’ for her foreign affairs, and it is one of the most dependable and reliable partners for her allies and friends. Of course, the efforts Turkey spends for securing her borders and the desire to keep borders as they are in the region plays a big part in this success. As we mentioned countless times, we do not seek to claim neither territory nor sovereignty from other countries or peoples. The only aim we have in our military operations, internal or external, is to secure the stability and security for our people through securing our borders. The counter-terrorism operations we commence, within our self-defence rights legal by international law, are all for this sole reason as well. We will bring our border security to a new level with the equipment we develop ourselves with our defence industry. We continue to fight threats to our border security, to curb illegal immigration and terrorist infiltration. I believe your third summit held this year will add value to our security forces and be a compass for them.”
The Sector is One of the Key Elements of Turkey’s National Power
Süleyman Soylu, Minister of Interior, attended this year’s MRBS event like the previous events as well. He arrived at the event in the afternoon of the first day and in his speech, he shared that the event advanced compared to the previous ones. He added: “MRBS is a learning experience for us as well. We do not simply account for the results of actions in the field. We try to simulate in our mind every development in the field or here that we observe, from border security to migration, from natural disasters to traffic in urban areas, and more. While you develop your capabilities and capacities, we are doing our best to find ways to utilise said capabilities and capacities.”
Minister Soylu also gave some praise to sector companies: “You are not merely commercial organisations in our view. I want to underline this. You are our national power… We overcome the obstacles we face in the international stage thanks to your efforts. We thank you for this reason. Your active and integrated collaboration with our organisations, including General Command of Gendarmerie, Turkish National Police, Turkish Coast Guard and Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency is our expectation. We are open to everything you wish to utilise, try, and experience. Furthermore, I think we need a positive discrimination for your national production.”
Cost Effectiveness Was Highlighted
Minister Soylu also touched on cost-effectiveness: “We should keep the initial costs down. We need to reduce costs in order to surpass the competition and expand our reach. We may find it natural to accept high initial and manufacturing costs when smaller production runs are made. However, we see your products are getting widespread. With this in mind, it will be beneficial to keep the costs down, to become more widespread and to compete in international markets.”
Minister Soylu finished his speech underlining their desire to support the sector: “We are at your service. The better you accomplish your goals; the stronger our country becomes. The better you do; our youth and future generations will see the sector as a centre of attraction and pay more attention. The better you work, our dependency on foreign goods will decrease that much. The better you spend effort; our export potential strengthens our country and increase our people’s confidence.”
Great Opportunities for Investment
Mustafa Varank, Minister of Industry and Technology visited the event on the second day and examined the booths of the attending companies. Minister Varank said that Turkey was seeing success in the international market in the defence technologies and foreign actors were interested in Turkish products. He underlined that the importance of events like MRBS to have the sector familiarise itself with its constituents and bringing investor companies. He added that he visited plenty of factories of the companies attending the event and he was pleased with the development of the sector.
Minister Varank also said they were able to see how fast and dynamic the sector was in the event and added: “We have great opportunities to invest here in Turkey for defence industry. We do not care if the investor is Turkish or not, we invite anyone and everyone who wishes to invest in Turkey.”
Sector Enjoys Potential for Export Opportunities
Prof. Dr. İsmail Demir, President of Defence Industries (SSB) highlighted the business opportunities in the future in his speech. He underlined that plenty of foreign attendants indicated their border and critical infrastructure protection needs during IDEF’21 and advised the sector as follows: “Integrated solutions are very important for both meeting our country’s needs and increasing export opportunities. Our advice, then, that it is beneficial for our companies to come together to provide their solutions integrated and to offer these integrated solutions to foreign countries under a common roof. As we observe, the countries who need solutions are not completely competent in procuring their needed solutions one by one. If we offer integrated solutions with all their components fully thought out, fully prepared and demonstrable in the field, we can have a great impact for border and critical infrastructure security.”
Prof. Dr. Demir also mentioned the primary investing areas list prepared by Industrialisation Department of SSB could be a roadmap for potential investors.
Prof. Dr. Demir stated that the efforts continue in line with the demands and needs of the end-users and gave examples from ongoing projects: “We are preparing the required infrastructure for installation and integration of sensor systems for 24/7 surveillance and control of border areas, and logging of the data from these sensors with our new Coastal Security Project KAYI. Within the project, cameras, land surveillance radars, cable-guided aerostat systems, wide area land-based observation systems, fibre-optic acoustic sensors and more subsystems are included, giving an uninterrupted security solution. We also are coming to a close in our Coastal Surveillance Radar System project, a crucial step for our coastal defence. We plan to open new Coastal Surveillance Stations and increase the capabilities of existing ones with new processes.”
MUSIAD Support for the Industry Will Continue
Gökhan Yetkin, Deputy Chairman of MUSIAD also made a speech in the opening ceremony and expressed that the support of MUSIAD given to the sector will continue: “Defence industry has been a success story to the people, something they dearly missed. The accomplishment of them has increased the confidence of our people in themselves. The progress of our defence industry had a positive impact on many industrial sectors as well. Defence industry has been a school for our other industries with its high technology and engineering capabilities.
National production will both get our country stronger and provide a trump card in the diplomacy stage. As MUSIAD, we are proud to be a part of these efforts with our 100 members contributing to the defence industry. In the era of our new management, we wish to continue and increase the investment in high technology producing companies and have a more strategic outlook for this industry.”
The Sector Must Draw More Young Entrepreneurs
Fatih Altunbaş, President of MUSIAD Defence Sector Board expressed that Turkish defence and aerospace industry has become an interesting actor in the international stage, especially in military radar and border security fields and added: “I would like to highlight this: defence and aerospace industry must draw more young entrepreneurs to its ranks. One of the best examples for this has been Teknofest, held last month. Defence and aerospace industry is a field that could accept everyone’s contributions; one can easily adapt to its specific responsibilities, and have a high satisfaction with work done. I hope that we will see more young entrepreneurs in our future events.”
Mr. Altunbaş expressed his evaluation about MRBS as follows: “This platform both brought together decision makers serving in Turkish and foreign militaries, gendarmerie and police organisations and defence and aerospace companies, academics, technology experts, military and border security experts, and attracted a great deal of attention from the public. The technologies and solutions we developed for our needs have the quality and potential to meet other countries’ needs as well. This platform gave us the ability to showcase this potential in the international arena, and we see this very clearly today. The summit, with its increased international presence, will increase our exports, contribute to our national economy, and provide added value to our allied and friendly countries.”
IDEF Must Be Held in Ankara
Hasan Fehmi Yılmaz, President of MUSIAD Ankara focused on Ankara’s place in the sector: “Eighty percent of Turkish defence and aerospace companies are based in Ankara. Today, Ankara is rightfully the centre of our defence industry, contributing to the national economy, exports and employment as a base of production of high technology products to defend and secure the borders of our country.
Ankara will further increase its desire to be the centre of high technology national production with the opening of Ankara Space and Aerospace Industry Zone.
Today, plenty of MUSIAD member companies invest in defence industry in large amounts, doing their best for national production.
With industrial collaboration projects we can increase the power of Ankara in defence industry; we can produce high value, high technology products nationally in Ankara. We are always ready for this as MUSIAD.
As Ankara enjoys a new fairground, I would like to express our desire to bring IDEF back to Ankara, the city with 80 percent of our defence industry.”
Comprehensive Coverage from MSI TDR
MUSIAD Ankara will publish a report at the end of the MRBS’21, as it has done with the previous events. As MSI TDR, we prepared a special dossier about the event. We present the interview with Fatih Altunbaş, President of MUSIAD Defence Sector Board and our special dossier encompassing the important developments of the event to you, dear reader.