ROCKVILLE, Md., Aug. 14 (UPI) -- A recent report has valued the Turkish defense industry market at $14 billion.
The statistic is contained in "The Turkish Defense Industry: Market Opportunities and Entry Strategies, Analyses and Forecasts to 2017," MarketResearch.com reported.
As Turkey's economy is booming, the country is seeking to ramp up spending on its military. Turkey's Undersecretariat for Defense Industries projects that Turkey will spend up to $8 billion in defense purchases as its exports will reach $2 billion in 2016.
Among the planned purchases are about 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II aircraft.
Besides the F-35s, the Undersecretariat for Defense Industries' updated 2012-16 strategic program includes Turkey purchasing U-214 submarines from Germany.
Extending the projected defense purchases, Turkey is also meeting with four key foreign defense manufacturers on a $4 billion Long Range Air and Missile Defense Systems project.
The Turkish Ministry of Defense said the nation's defense budget for the 2012 fiscal year marks a 7.4 percent increase over 2011 defense spending, comprising 1.3 percent of the gross domestic product for 2012.
A study released last year by Bilgi University researchers however underlined the difficulties in determining defense spending with precision.
"The figures of the Defense Ministry, the Gendarmerie General Command and the Coast Guard Command can be easily obtained via the Web site of the Ministry of Finance," the study stated.
"Although those figures are easily accessible, obtaining detailed figures and long-term estimations on the spending of the Defense Industry Support Fund, the Turkish Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corp. and village guards as well as payments made through funds (that are neither available to the legislators nor to the public) or foreign credit intended for military spending, are not possible. Even though we state that data are accessible, we do not claim that the available information is transparent."
Another concern of the Turkish military is to increase production of indigenous weapons systems.
Minister of Defense Ismet Yilmaz said the ratio domestic armaments production for the Turkish armed forces in 2010 reached 52 percent from around 15 percent in 2004. However, Bilgi University researchers were unable to determine whether this percentage includes critical military technologies.
Last November, Muslim Sarı, a deputy from the main opposition Republican People's Party, said during a Planning and the Budgetary Commission discussion on the Defense Ministry's budget that Turkey still depends on critical military technologies from abroad and urged that the percentage of funds designated for research and development defense projects be increased from 2-5 percent.
Highlighting Turkey's ongoing dependency on foreign equipment, Yilmaz said Saturday that Ankara has purchased bought 50 Husky Visor 2500 U.S.-built mine detection vehicles in a deal worth $115 million to use operations to clear the southeastern Turkish border areas to clear mines planted by Kurdistan Workers Party guerrillas.
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