“We should aim to move our country to the top spot in the world in the military shipbuilding industry together with all the stakeholders operating in this area by increasing domestic construction and contribution,” the Turkish Daily Sabah reported Erdogan as saying in a speech at a naval academy in Tuzla near Istanbul on Monday.
“Even the projects that are the peak of this field, such as the aircraft carrier, are not a faraway dream for us anymore,” he added.
The naval academy was hosting a ceremony to launch the fourth locally manufactured warship, the Kinaliada Corvette — named for an island in the Sea of Marmara.
“As a country that aims to become independent in the field of defense by 2023, we must move even faster,” he said.
Erdogan stated that there were already 14 construction projects of naval vessels in the works with 10 more projects to be signed in coming years.
“We are proud of our ability to build military ships, especially construction of submarines,” he said, adding that Turkey was among only 10 countries in the world capable of designing and manufacturing naval vessels.
Erdogan stressed the importance for Turkey’s navy to have the ability to deal with any potential threats that could develop in the region.
In reference to arms manufacturing, Erdogan said, “In 2016, Turkey achieved $5 billion in production and $1.6 billion in exports, which is important but well below our targets.”
The Turkish Armed Forces had a defense budget of $14.9 billion USD in 2016 compared to Germany’s budget of $41.1 billion USD in the same year.
Erdogan’s speech regarding plans to vamp up its production of naval vessels and arms come in advance of the one-year anniversary of the failed coup attempt which occurred on July 15.