– Sadık PİYADE, Deputy General Manager of TAFF
It was during the Cyprus crisis of 1964 that Turkey first saw how dependency on foreign defence products could cause problems, even if the related country was an ally, and realised the importance of meeting its defence needs through indigenous solutions. In 1970, 1972 and 1974, respectively, Support Foundations for the Air, Naval and Land Forces were established. These foundations, which were established to bring modern technologies to Turkey through the development of defence systems and products for the Turkish Armed Forces, funded by donations of the Turkish Nation, were united on 26 September 1987 under the name of the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation (TAFF), in accordance with Law No. 3388.
As stated in the Foundation Act of the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation (TAFF), the Foundation was established to create a line of communication with and to provide moral and material support to the Turkish nation in order to work towards increasing the fighting strength of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) through:
- the development of a national armaments industry in Turkey,
- the establishment of new branches within the armaments sector, and
- the purchase of weapons, vehicles and equipment.
The Board of Trustees of the Foundation comprises the Vice President of the Republic of Turkey, appointed by the President of the Republic of Turkey, the Minister of National Defence, the Commander of Turkish Armed Forces and the President of Defence Industries, under the presidency of the President of the Republic of Turkey.
Furthermore, in line with a decision of the Board of Trustees of TAFF in April, Prof. Dr. İsmail DEMİR, President of Defence Industries; Hasan BÜYÜKDEDE, Deputy Minister of Industry and Technology; Seyfullah HACIMÜFTÜOĞLU, Secretary General of the National Security Council; General Ümit DÜNDAR, Commander of the Turkish Land Forces; and Cenap AŞÇI, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Turkish Aeronautical Association, were appointed as members of the Executive Board of the Foundation. The sectoral and political experience of each of the Board members will contribute greatly to the Foundation’s activities in the coming period.
With the specific purpose of creating a platform of communication and increasing the visibility of the Foundation:
- Media Activities are carried out directly by the Head Office;
- Promotional, Public Relations, and Donor Relations Activities are carried out by the Head Office; and the Regional Representative Offices in Istanbul, Izmir and Mersin, working in coordination with the Honorary Publicity Boards that have been established under the Governorships in the provinces and the District Governorships in the districts.
Within the scope of the Media Activities:
- Representatives of Anadolu Agency, other press institutions and defence magazines are invited to the Foundation offices on the anniversaries of its establishment to be briefed by the General Manager on the key activities being carried out by the Foundation and its companies; and
- Verbal and written press releases are provided to the media organs about the important activities (visits, product delivery ceremonies, etc.) being carried out by the Foundation and its companies.
Within the scope of the Promotion, Public Relations and Donor Relations Activities,
- Public Service Announcements are prepared every six months with different themes to be broadcast on national and local television and radio channels upon the approval of the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK);
- Short publicity films are prepared to raise awareness of issues of public interest, to be broadcast on television channels which have high ratings; on national holidays and on other important days;
- The public is provided with information through Public Service Announcements, promotional films, visual materials and posters on various topics that are prepared for the promotion of our Foundation and companies, utilising the facilities of public, regional, local and non-governmental organisations;
- It is ensured to the maximum extent possible that sportsmen and sportswomen engaged in competitions and other events of public interest carry a banner of the Foundation when entering the field, and that emphasis is given to promoting the Foundation at individual events;
- Stamps issued under the coordination of the Turkish Post Office (PTT) that promote the works of the Foundation are being used for Foundation communications, and particularly for mail-shots to donors;
- Our Foundation and companies are promoted in the National Defence University and its affiliated military educational institutions, and in the relevant faculties of the Council of Higher Education (CoHE)-affiliated universities that offer master’s programmes in the field of defence industries;
- Public Service Announcements, films and visual materials prepared about the Foundation, and our companies, donor activities, issues of public interest and important days, are shared on the social media accounts of the Foundation, and related films and visuals are displayed on the outdoor TVs and illuminated boards of our Head Office and the regional representative offices;
- In addition to the real estate donations and cash donations made to the Foundation’s bank accounts by our loyal donors as contributions to the achievement of the Foundation’s goals to strengthen our army, online donations are made through the Foundation’s website using a credit card or cash card, or by SMS through all GSM operators to the phone number 1987, symbolising the establishment date of our Foundation.
- We promote our Foundation in the public arena in coordination with Honorary Publicity Boards, which serve voluntarily under the honorary presidencies of our Governors and District Governors in all provinces and districts. For this purpose, various events are organized aimed at contributing to the collection of donations and the promotion of our Foundation within the premises of the Governorships, District Governorships, universities, Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and other individual institutions, with the support of the Honorary Publicity Boards.
Preparations for IDEF’21 Continue
Another important activity of our Foundation is the organization of exhibitions, seminars and symposiums, both at home and abroad, as detailed in the Articles of Foundation. Among these, the International Defence Industry Fair (IDEF), which is among the world’s leading defence industry exhibitions, serves as a significant platform for international promotion, marketing and cooperation, where high technology systems and subsidiary products in the fields of defence and security are exhibited, and has been held successfully 14 times between 1993 and 2019.
IDEF’19 – the 14th International Defence Industry Fair – hosted by the Ministry of National Defence (MoND) under the auspices of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey, and under the management and responsibility of the General Directorate of TAFF, was held at the TÜYAP Fair, Convention and Congress Centre on 30 April–3 May 2019, with the participation of 588 delegation members from 71 countries and three international organisations. IDEF’19 hosted companies of all sizes, including small and medium-sized defence companies who were provided with support so that they could have the chance to promote their products to global markets, and was attended by a total of 1,061 company/firm representatives – including 481 local and 580 foreign representatives – from 53 countries.
During the fair, 2,700 scheduled meetings were held between authorities, delegations and participating companies in dedicated Interview Rooms. The fair also saw 100 signing ceremonies, nine meetings, four panels and eight presentations on various topics. IDEF’19 was visited by a total of 76,010 people, including 71,082 locals, and 4,928 foreigners from 96 countries.
Turkey’s “IDEF International Defence Industry Fair”, which has today become a global brand, has been registered in the name of TAFF by the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office. With a view to further increasing the success of IDEF, the preparations of TAFF for the 15th event, to be held on 25–28 May, 2021 at the TÜYAP Fair, Convention and Congress Centre, are continuing at full speed.
Partnerships and Affiliates of the Foundation Maintain Successes
Established in 1987 with the merging of the individual support foundations of the Air, Naval and Land Forces within the scope of the efforts launched in the 1960s and 1970s to achieve the dream of a stronger army, TAFF is today proud to represent a large family of 130,000 donors, and is looking to the future with confidence.
The Foundation is a direct shareholder in 14 companies, including six subsidiaries and eight affiliates, each of which operates in key areas of our defence sector. When we take into account the companies both at home and abroad in which the Foundation’s subsidiaries are direct or indirect shareholders, we can say that the Foundation is a shareholder in 60 companies (including six branches and seven offices). In 2019, 42 percent of the total sales and 33 percent of the exports made by the Turkish defence sector were carried out by the subsidiaries of the Foundation.
On the 2018 list of the Top 100 global defence companies in terms of sales compiled by Defense News – one of the most prestigious publications in its field – ASELSAN was ranked 52nd, while Turkish Aerospace ranked 69th and ROKETSAN ranked 89th. Meanwhile, on the 2019 list of the Top 500 Industrial Enterprises announced annually by the Istanbul Chamber of Industry, ASELSAN ranked 15th, Turkish Aerospace ranked 22nd, ROKETSAN ranked 85th and HAVELSAN ranked 153rd.
On the other hand, the intellectual and industrial property rights of our companies are constantly increasing, from 928 in 2018 to 1,132 in 2019. Today, our companies are continuing their activities in 15 technoparks and 16 R&D centres, employing more than 9,500 people. In line with the goal of the Presidency of Defence Industries (SSB) of the Republic of Turkey to increase the local participation in the defence sector to 75 percent by 2023, the Foundation and its subsidiaries have defined performance targets and have planned the necessary activities.
In order to achieve the 2023 export target set by the SSB of the Republic of Turkey at $10.2 billion, the Foundation guides its subsidiaries to increase the number of targeted foreign markets, to carry out effective business development efforts addressing these markets, and to focus on activities aimed at creating long-term cooperation alternatives at home and abroad until 2023. Another issue of focus is the export of systems developed in Turkey through the establishment of effective organisational structures that are adapted to the defined target markets.
Our Foundation, which has been playing an active role in increasing the local participation rate through its subsidiaries for many years, continues to make significant contributions to the economy with the jobs created by its companies, with its increasing exports, and with the work share transferred to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs). In this context, the number of domestic and foreign subcontractors working with the Foundation’s subsidiaries keeps increasing.
Works aimed at developing local, national and indigenous products, at enhancing local technological maturity levels, and at launching serial production in order to reduce the foreign dependency level of the national defence sector, as well as the efforts to develop the critical subsystems, components and equipment that are currently subject to export licenses, through indigenous means continued unabated in 2019. In many projects that are critical for the survival of our country, critical stages have been passed and significant products have entered the inventory. The Foundation’s subsidiaries have assumed important roles in these projects. To give a few examples, the first flight trials in the AKINCI, AKSUNGUR, GÖKBEY and ATAK Phase-2 projects have been successfully completed. The New Generation Indigenous Combat Management System ADVENT has been integrated into the TCG KINALIADA platform, which is the fourth MİLGEM ship to be entered into service. Furthermore, the first ATMACA naval missile has been launched from TCG KINALIADA, while the guided firing tests of the BOZDOĞAN and GÖKDOĞAN missiles developed within our first air-to-air missile programme, GÖKTUĞ, have been successfully completed. HİSAR-A has been made ready for serial production, while a number of HİSAR-O missiles have been delivered and entered into use. Within the scope of the KORKUT Air Defence System, the delivery of 13 systems has been completed and the naval version of the system, GÖKDENİZ, has been made ready.
Works on the HİSAR-U (Siper) air defence missile system, to which the knowhow acquired in HİSAR-A and HİSAR-O will be transferred, are underway. In 2020, our companies will continue to work on the technologies of the future, carrying our country to the next level through their developed know-how. İŞBİR and ASPİLSAN, which play a critical role in the provision of uninterrupted power and energy to our companies during their field operations, are working to complete their technological investments with funding provided by the Foundation to ensure their sustainable growth, allowing them to develop national and indigenous solutions to meet the needs of our country. Plans are in place to launch serial production at İŞBİR – Turkey’s first R&D- and innovation-based alternator manufacturer – and to equip the company with the necessary capabilities to develop other advanced technology products.
It is aimed to support ASPİLSAN in its efforts to become Turkey’s first R&D- and innovation-based battery cell manufacturer, and to equip the company with the capabilities required to develop other advanced technological products that can be used in both the civil and defence sectors. The main goal is to have ASPİLSAN meet our need for Lithium-Ion batteries and cells, which is currently met through imports, through indigenous and national means.
Support of Human Resources Development
We act with the awareness that human resources is the most important factor in achieving all our goals. Efforts aimed at increasing the efficiency of the training organisations recently established to raise the qualified human resources that will be needed by the sector in the future, and at ensuring the occupational and personal development of employees through the recently opened training academies, have continued. Among these institutions, the ASELSAN Vocational and Technical Anatolian High School, which was established under a Cooperation Protocol signed between ASELSAN and the Ministry of National Education (MoNE), launched its activities in 2019.
The high school is planned to teach such subjects as defence mechanics and defence electronics. In addition, a Cooperation Protocol on Vocational Training has been signed between Turkish Aerospace and MoNE, under which the name of the “Kızılcahamam Şehit Hakan Gülşen Vocational and Technical Anatolian High School” was changed to the “TUSAŞ Şehit Hakan Gülşen Vocational and Technical Anatolian High School”, and the school has subsequently applied for civil aviation accreditation. Under the said protocol, the technicians that will be involved in the TF-X National Combat Aircraft and Heavy Class Attack Helicopter projects will receive training.
Our Foundation continues its activities with great dedication and determination with the aim of strengthening the existing communication between the Turkish nation and the Turkish Armed Forces, as an integral part of it, in line with aims and objectives set out in the Foundation Act and in the Articles of Foundation.
You Can Read Eurosatory 2020 Special Digital Issue of MSI TDR Here: https://www.savunmahaber.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/msi_tdr_83_2020_eurosatory_special_digital_issue.pdf