Interview: BG Jozef Viktorin, Defence Attaché of Slovakia to Turkey and the Dean of AMAC
Dictionaries define the word “attaché” as a member of embassy staff who represents his / her country, and provides consultations regarding his / her expertise to the embassy, while also collecting information in a specific area of expertise within the context of a diplomatic mission to another country.
The duties of military attachés are not limited by the dynamics of the countries in which they are serving, as they may also be involved in the promotion of their own defence and aerospace industries in the countries to which they are assigned.
The interview below was done with Brigadier General Jozef Viktorin, Defence Attaché of Slovakia to Turkey and the Dean of AMAC for the 3rd International Cooperation Days on Defence and Aerospace (ICDDA), between 11 and 13 October.
MSI TDR: What would like to tell about what AMAC and its organization is, how it is working and how many members you have?
BG Jozef VIKTORIN: AMAC represents all foreign military attaches assigned and accredited to the Republic of Turkey. The organization currently has 125 attaches from 64 countries, from Albania to Zambia. The attaché community is very close and very strong, and has many activities to share interests and information.
MSI TDR: Could you please tell us about the main activities of AMAC?
BG Jozef VIKTORIN: AMAC sponsors many activities each year, including the annual ball, winter and summer conferences, fun run, picnic, and annual visit to Anitkabir. Many other informal activities are also held. Also, the spouses of military attaches have frequent formal and informal social, educational, and cultural activities, including excursions and language, art and sport classes. The Turkish General Staff also sponsors an annual program of cultural and professional visits, briefings, and other social activities.
MSI TDR: How are, as AMAC, your relations with Turkish Ministry of Defence, Turkish Armed Forces and Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM)?
BG Jozef VIKTORIN: AMAC enjoys excellent relations with the General Staff, MND, and SSM.
MSI TDR: How do you see Turkish Defence Industry and Turkish Armed Forces?
BG Jozef VIKTORIN: Turkey has a very large and active military, and a growing defence industry, and is a key player in the region, especially this time of increased instability. We can all agree that the people of Turkey have shown they are a force for democracy, and from the tumultuous events of recent months, Turkey will grow stronger.
MSI TDR: How do you inform the military attaches about any news or activity? Do you have any regular magazine?
BG Jozef VIKTORIN: Most announcements and information are sent out via email to the community. For the past 5 years AMAC has produced a magazine to capture the events of the past year with stories and pictures. The magazine is a keepsake for each attaché to help them remember their fond memories of Turkey and of the association’s activities. Starting from 2016, AMAC Magazine has been prepared by the MSI Turkish Defence Review and published quarterly. Covering procurement systems and defence needs of each country, the new AMAC Magazine has also been distributed to senior managers in military and official institutions and among a select group of defence industry members together with all the AMAC Members on active duty in Ankara. We are pleased to be teaming with the MSI Turkish Defence Review to publish the 2014 magazine.
MSI TDR: How do you decide which news and activities will be on the AMAC Magazine? Do you have any employee to report your events, take pictures and save them in an archive?
BG Jozef VIKTORIN: One attaché serves as the magazine editor, and is in charge of reviewing and approving the preparations of MSI TDR quarterly after they collect articles and pictures from each activity of AMAC on behalf of AMAC Executive Team. All of the work; like preparing country profile, interviewing with MSI TDR when arriving the mission in Turkey first time to introduce himself / herself to AMAC, etc. is done on a volunteer basis by the individual attaches.
MSI TDR: Do you have any message or recommendation for Turkish Defence and Military Authorities for the 3rd International Cooperation Days on Defence and Aerospace (ICDDA), between 11 and 13 October?
BG Jozef VIKTORIN: My message is that all AMAC members are ready to establish and develop bilateral cooperation with the Turkish defence and military authorities in defence related fields. This promises to be fantastic event that provides an opportunity for members of the community to interact with our host nation’s defence industry personnel. Do not miss this opportunity!
MSI TDR: Is there any other issue you would like to mention?
BG Jozef VIKTORIN: Each member of AMAC feels very fortunate for the opportunity to serve in Turkey, to get to know the Turkish people and culture, and to blend our own backgrounds and cultures into a strong and vibrant community. No one ever forgets the experiences they have here and the friendships they make, and we have found these relationships continue long after it comes time for us to depart Turkey.
On behalf of our readers, we would like to thank Brigadier General Jozef Viktorin, Defence Attache of Slovakia to Turkey and the Dean of AMAC, for taking the time to answer our questions and for providing us with such valuable information.
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