Turkish defense and aerospace companies boosted their export performance significantly in the first half of the year, lifting it by nearly 22% when compared to the same period last year, according to a top official on Wednesday.

The exports from the sector in June only amounted to $563 million (TL 18.3 billion), according to the head of the Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) Haluk Görgün. This corresponds to about 3% of the country’s total exports during the month.

Turkish exports were down 10.6% year-over-year to $18.57 billion last month, the Trade Ministry announced on Wednesday. In June, there was a temporary decline in exports due to the calendar effect, nine-day religious Eid holiday and five weekends causing the absence of working days and dampening exports, the ministry said in a press release.

Pointing out to the export figure registered in the defense sector last month, Görgün in a social media post said, “Our exports in the first six months saw an increase of 21.6% when compared to the same period a year ago, reaching $2.88 billion.”

Stating that the main goal of their export strategy is to ensure a permanent increase in the export of high-value-added products, he further said, “I wholeheartedly congratulate all our companies and their employees who are pioneers in increasing our exports.”

“As of today, I am proud to share that Turkish defense and aerospace products are successfully used in 185 countries worldwide. I also take this opportunity to thank the countries that trust in Türkiye’s defense and have added our domestic and national systems to their inventories,” he said.

The exports from the sector, which have been steadily rising over the past two decades, reached a new record of $5.5 billion in 2023. This figure stood at $248 million in 2002 and $4.4 billion in 2022.

Years of investments have fueled a profound transformation in Türkiye’s defense industry, aimed at reducing external dependency on Western arms through innovative engineering initiatives and domestically developed technologies.

Meanwhile, the latest trade data suggested the top group with the largest export volume registered in June was the automotive industry, with $2.6 billion. This sector was followed by chemicals and products, with $2.2 billion, and the steel sector, with $1.3 billion, according to the data from the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM).

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