Interview: Dr. M. Vecdi Gönül, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Türksat
“We have many projects that overlap with the defence industry.”
As an important stakeholder of the defence and aerospace industry, Türksat continues to provide services and develop its own indigenous solutions. We discussed the company’s approach to the industry with Dr. M. Vecdi Gönül, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Türksat, and former Minister of National Defence.
MSI TDR: Minister Gönül, you are one of the architects of the industry’s advance in recent years, and are closely acquainted with the industry. What overall picture do you see when you look at the industry from the perspective of IDEF 2017? Could you briefly share your thoughts on this?
Dr. M. Vecdi GÖNÜL: Turkey is a country whose influence and weight is gradually increasing, both regionally and globally. As a country wishing to have a greater say at both regional and global level, we are proud of the work and activities conducted by the defence industry. Thanks to the efforts and sacrifices made over the past 14 years, Turkey has gained an industrial infrastructure comparable with those of developed countries. Since 2003, Turkey’s defence industry has been undergoing a structural change and transformation. We are beginning to reap the fruits of these labours, and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Indigenisation efforts in the defence industry are further strengthening our country. Offset practices are playing an important role in the development of our indigenous defence industry. One mustn’t forget that you cannot have soft power without first having hard power. In this context, companies in the industry, SMEs (Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises), universities and research organisations are all doing their part and continuing their activities. We feel very proud of all these activities and efforts. The fact that IDEF has, over time, moved from Ankara to Istanbul is also a significant development in itself. While Turkey was, in the past, a country that predominantly purchased products in defence industry, it has now achieved the position of a seller. I must emphasise that we owe this achievement not only to the political will and administrative efforts [of our country], but also to the praiseworthy success of our country’s technical personnel, who have acquired outstandingly high capabilities.
MSI TDR: In this overall picture, what is the position of Türksat within the industry?
Dr. M. Vecdi GÖNÜL: In addition to having previously established the Space Systems, Integration and Test Centre, Turkey has also launched the GÖKTÜRK-1 and GÖKTÜRK-2 satellites in recent times. We as Türksat are working to create indigenous technologies in our areas of activity. In this context, we have many projects that overlap with the defence industry. Since 2003, indigenisation has become a government policy in Turkey, allowing the launch of many projects from the indigenous helicopter to the indigenous tank, and from the indigenous infantry rifle to the indigenous satellite and communication system. Some of these projects have been concluded successfully, while others are still ongoing. Fully aware that communication is a critically important field that touches every aspect of our daily lives, we are working to produce high added value products for our country within our areas of activity.
MSI TDR: Could you tell us about your current work and projects in the industry?
Dr. M. Vecdi GÖNÜL: I should first talk about the Türksat 6A, which is Turkey’s first indigenous communication satellite. Work on the Türksat 6A satellite is continuing at full pace; we expect this satellite to be completed in 2019 and launched the same year. In addition to this, other important projects we’re working on include the cable-guided balloon project and the indigenous positioning systems. With our current satellites, we are continuing to provide non-stop communication services within our coverage areas. We effectively meet the communication needs of public institutions and private companies with our TürksatVSAT service that guarantees reliable, high quality and uninterrupted service through Türksat communication radios, regardless of geographical conditions. In addition to these important projects, we also organise satellite modelling contests with participation by university students, with the aim of raising awareness and interest in our country’s satellite industry.
MSI TDR: In the coming period, what novelties should we expect from Türksat?
Dr. M. Vecdi GÖNÜL: Through the services we provide in our areas of activity, as well as our social responsibility projects, we as Türksat will continue to produce value and to contribute to Turkey and our people. In line with our 2023 goals, we are taking steps towards increasing the size of our satellite fleet. In the area of informatics, and especially with regards to the e-State Portal, we are offering easy to use, rapid and reliable services to Turkish citizens. We are increasing the number of such services we are offering with each passing day. With the aim of taking our cable services to all cities in Turkey, we are constantly expanding our organisation. We plan to make improvement and bring novelties in all of these areas. Our goal is to make Türksat a larger and stronger company, both in its region and across the globe, and to transform it into a brand. We therefore envision taking our services even to those citizens living in the most distant regions of Turkey.
MSI TDR: Could you tell us about Türksat’s agenda for IDEF?
Dr. M. Vecdi GÖNÜL: We attach great importance to the IDEF exhibition, an event that checks the pulse of the industry. For this reason, we participate at every exhibition with a high level of representation. This year we will once again welcome visitors at the Türksat stand in the exhibition’s showroom area. I would like to take this opportunity to invite everyone to our stand at the exhibition, where we will share information about our areas of activity.
On behalf of our readers, we would like to thank Dr. M. Vecdi Gönül, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Türksat, for taking the time to answer our questions and for providing us with such valuable information.
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