TAFF Consolidates Development on 32nd Anniversary

13 Kasım 2019
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You can read the special coverage published in the October 2019 Issue of MSI Turkish Defence Review here:

 

The Turkish Armed Forces Foundation (TAFF) organised a press conference on the occasion of its 32nd  anniversary on September 26 in order to share information about the past activities and future objectives of the Foundation. It was demonstrated once again at the press conference that the Foundation, which has pursued its development and consolidation since its foundation in 1987, had made a considerable contribution to the development of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and Turkish defence and aerospace sector.

The press conference was held with the participation of numerous members of the press at the Head Office of TAFF in Ankara. Chaired by Sadık Piyade, Deputy General Manager of TAFF, the conference was also attended by Erhan Sipahioğlu, Acting Financial Affairs and Affiliates Group Chairman at TAFF; and M. Zeki Yağcı, Head of the Foundation Affairs Division at TAFF; as well as a number of foundation employees. During the conference, Piyade gave a presentation on the foundation and its activities, and touched upon several issues related to the future of the sector.

“Today is our birthday”, said Piyade in his opening remarks, adding that the Foundation has witnessed constant growth over the last 32 years. He then provided some information on the establishment of the Foundation and the Board of Trustees, which is chaired by the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He summarised the tasks of the Foundation as follows:

  • To develop a national defence industry;
  • The establishment of new defence industry branches;
  • Acquisition of weapons, defence materials and equipment.

Underlining that the Foundation carries out activities all over Turkey, Piyade said: “According to the law, all governors and district governors are honorary presidents of TAFF in the provinces and districts to which they are appointed. In the provinces and districts, honorary promotional councils are established under our supervision and under the presidency of the governors or district governors. To date, we have established honorary promotional councils in 80 provinces and 817 districts across Turkey. The number of donors is increasing considerably day by day, and we now have around 84,000 donors. When I first took up this position two-and-a-half years ago, there were around 30,000 donors. All of our donors become part of our family. We deal with every single problem faced by our donors and lend them a helping hand.”

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Aiming for First Place in the World for IDEF 2023

During his speech, Piyade also mentioned the promotional activities of the Foundation, and specifically the IDEF fair organised by TAFF: “At IDEF, which has been held since 1993, we exhibit products related to high technology systems. In 2019, we took fourth place in the world in terms of the number of exhibitors, which we consider to be a great success. On the other hand, in terms of the number of discussions/meetings held and the number of agreements signed, we rank in first place.  We have started making plans for IDEF 2021 and IDEF 2023, and if the circumstances allow, I firmly believe that we will play to achieve first place in the world in terms of the number of exhibitors. Looking at the statistics, we realise that our fair is growing every other year, with an incredible upward trend noted between 1993 and 2019. This year there was record participation of 1,061 exhibitors. Among them were 580 foreign firms from 53 different countries. I think that these figures indicate enormous success. For IDEF 2019, we innovated by starting to price our stand fees in Turkish Lira rather than US dollars, and we also offered special discounts to SMEs. In past years, stands cost $490/square meter for SMEs; this year, we reduced this cost to ₺1,300, and the government covers ₺1,000 of this cost. This means that our SMEs were able to open stands for only ₺300 per square meter. As for the number of participants, we hosted 76,000 professionals from Turkey and abroad at our 2019 exhibition.

 

Position of Foundation Companies in the Sector

During his presentation, Piyade also shared some information about the companies and participations of the Foundation. He reminded that ASELSAN, Turkish Aerospace, Roketsan, HAVELSAN, İŞBİR and ASPİLSAN Energy are all subsidiaries of the Foundation, adding that the Foundation also had seven different affiliates. Piyade pointed out: “When we look at the position of our companies in the Turkish defence and aerospace sector, we see that we are managing 40 percent of the net sales, 38 percent of exports and 62 percent of R&D activities”. He stated that the Foundation contributed to the effective supervision and management of the companies, the prevention of activity repetitions, and increases in cooperation and coordination among the companies.

Piyade listed five main sources of income of the Foundation as dividends of the companies, donations, IDEF, real estate and financial revenues and explained how the Foundation used these financial sources: “The revenues are collected in a pool. We set aside 80 percent of these for TAF investments and use 20 percent for the management and administrative expenses of the Foundation. We support the projects determined by the Ministry of National Defence (MND) and the General Staff, and this process starts when we submit our estimated budget. With this budget, we ask for projects from the MND and the General Staff. After having been tasked with the project, we allocate the budget to the Defence Industry Support Fund. Let’s say, for example, that Land Forces Command wants to buy four ANKA UAVs. We cover all the necessary expenses with the task we took upon ourselves.”

 

Export Figures to Increase

Piyade announced that an additional factory had been established for both İŞBİR and ASPİLSAN Energy, explaining that the companies will use the facility to develop significant technologies with new investments. He said that a new company would be established in the near future, and said: “We export directly or indirectly to 59 different countries. As a matter of fact, this is not a figure that we can be proud of. However, we will endeavour to increase it. In particular, our revenues and thus our support to projects, increases when we create bonds of affection with our donors. That is why we say “Union of Forces with a Union of Hands”.

The press conference ended after Piyade read out the letter that had been sent out to all donors on the occasion of the 32nd anniversary of the foundation of TAFF.

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