Defence sector in Turkey

Turkey is one of the world’s largest defence and security equipment markets and is developing an increasingly sophisticated indigenous defence and security industry. Increasing external and internal threats puts the Turkish government under pressure to increase defence and security spending.

Market overview

Turkish defence and security market has been growing parallel to the strong performance of the Turkish economy. Increasing external and internal threats puts the Turkish government under pressure to increase defence and security spending. The total spending budget for Turkish Public Security bodies (police, gendarmerie, military, intelligence organisations etc) in 2013 is approximately £16.2 billion – a 15% increase from 2012.

UK’s political relationship is better than ever following the UK’s support for Turkish entry to the EU. Increasing number of Turkish private entrepreneurs are in/seeking Joint Venture and Manufacturing under Licence agreements with their international counterparts not only for bilateral trade but also targeting third countries/regions.

The following are the key organisations in the Turkish defence and security sectors:

  • Defence : Turkish Armed Forces, Gendarmerie, Coast Guard

  • Internal Security : National Police, Gendarmerie, Coast Guard, Customs and intelligence agencies

  • The Gendarmerie and Turkish Coast Guard Command protect national interests in land and surrounding waters against terrorism, drug trafficking and smuggling and controlled by the Ministry of the Interior. However, the Turkish General Staff assume responsibility for the other two services in times of emergency.

UK companies interested in Turkey must understand Turkey’s intention to create a self-sufficient defence/security industry. This is set out by the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries of the MoND (SSM) in their 2012-2016 Strategic Plan. Key features include :

  • increasing the competitiveness of Turkey’s defence industry

  • an increasing role for Turkish private sector

  • support for indigenous defence R&D to create a superior industrial base.

  • Support for local companies in supply chains

Key opportunities

Turkey faces significant security challenges both from its geographical position and from internal terrorist threats. Turkey consequently maintains a large National Police Force and Gendarmerie and forms the second largest armed forces in NATO.

Turkey is looking for a wide range of solutions in defence and security programmes.

We expect future opportunities in the fields of naval, land and air platforms and homeland security.

In the land sector Turkey is already largely self-sufficient, producing a wide range of tracked and wheeled vehicles, some of which are exported abroad. In the naval sector, Turkey has an ambition programme to build up to 100 hulls, some of which have been commissioned. Turkey has been more reliant on foreign imports in the air sector, but will continue to improve its domestic industry and intends to build its own fighter aircraft in the future.

Some indigenous Turkish programmes are in the final stages of development. For example over the next 5 years, Turkey will complete key projects such as ALTAY Tanks, the MLGEM Corvette, ATAK Helicopters, HÜRKU Training Aircraft, ANKA Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Low and Middle Altitude Air Defence Missile Systems and the Radar Observation Satellite.

Last year, Turkey started feasibility studies for a fighter and trainer jet, and recently the Defence Executive Committee decided to start new indigenous programmes like: GÖKTÜRK-3 Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Satellite Launch System, production of light class (4-5 tons) civil and military helicopters and ATAK Helicopters simulation

It is important that any UK company considering working with Turkey develops a good understanding of Turkey’s existing capabilities and considers how it can partner with Turkish industry.

Latest export opportunities – Defence

Latest export opportunities – Turkey

Getting into the market

The principles and procedures to be applied in any procurement held by public entities and institutions are governed by “Public procurement Law”. However some defence, security and intelligence equipment procurement are subject to different legislation

Companies new to this market are strongly advised to discuss as early as possible what prospects may exist for their products with both the UKTI DSO Desk Officer in London and the Trade and Investment Manager/Adviser in Ankara.

It is important that any UK defence / security company seeking to export equipment has the necessary export licence clearances from BIS Export Control Organisation. Companies should also check with the Ministry of Defence whether they require an F680 to market their equipment to Turkey. UKTI DSO will not provide support if a company does not have the necessary F680 clearances.

More about doing business in Turkey


Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS).

To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists based overseas – or contact your local international trade team.

  • Belgin Clissold, British Embassy Ankara. Tel: +90 (0)312 455 3220 or email:

  • Duncan Johnson, Turkey Desk Officer UKTI DSO. Tel 020 7215 8129.

Contact your local international trade team

UKTI Events

UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.

Latest events – Defence

Major Events

IDEF – International Defence Exhibition

Date: 7-10 May 2013

Website address:

Useful links

More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters

Export Control

Sectors: Defence & Security
Countries: Turkey
Export Action Plan