Canadian block on drone parts shows Turkey’s defense industry still not independent

ANKARA — The Canadian government’s decision to suspend export of key drone parts to Turkey has once again thrown a spotlight on Turkey’s ongoing efforts to develop a self-sufficient defense industry.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan often boasts at party rallies that his governance since 2002 has reduced Turkey’s dependency on foreign weapons systems from 80 percent to 30 percent. There is truth in that, although the actual percentages remain a mystery, mainly due to the difficulty of defining what is truly a local or national system.

Most Turkish “national” systems depend on various degrees of foreign input, often including critical parts only available abroad. The T129, an “indigenous” attack helicopter, is a Turkish variant of the Italian-British AgustaWestland A129 Mangusta chopper. Turkey’s local industry has no engine technology.

The “national” new generation tank Altay is facing major delays, due to the lack of a foreign engine and transmission system.

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