Defense autonomy and the transformation of Turkey into a major exporter of defense systems is one of the grandiose goals set by Ertoğan ahead of this year's election year, which marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of modern Turkey. Today, the country has 800 defense programs with a current budget of more than $60 billion, compared to 62 programs worth $5.5 billion two decades ago. As a result, the Turkish Defense Minister claims that the percentage of national domestic participation in defense programs has reached 80% today, compared to 25% in 2003.
In just the last five years, Turkish exports have increased by 53%, from 1.7 to 3.2 billion dollars. Among Turkey's top defense exports is, without a doubt, the Bayraktar unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Turkey has recorded greater penetration in African countries so far, in combination with the great diplomatic opening it is attempting in this direction.
The amount of 3.2 billion dollars of Turkish exports is at a significantly lower level than the original goal that was set for exports of 10 billion dollars. At the same time, as indicated, the "domestic" defense systems rely heavily on imported subsystems and cooperation with third countries, which makes the Turkish defense industry vulnerable in the event of restrictions or sanctions that may arise against Turkey.
The road to achieving Turkey's defense goals is still "long and difficult". The ambitious goals that have been set "aided by the state arm that promotes, at a frenzied pace - the certainly competitive in terms of price but uncertain in terms of quality - export Turkish military products around the world, foreshadow an eventual upward trajectory of Turkish defense industry, but which will be affected by both endogenous and exogenous factors".