On behalf of Turkey, the guest-of-honor country at the Armed Forces Exhibition for Diversity of Requirements and Capabilities (AFED 2018), Prof. Ismail Demir, chief of the Turkish defense industry, participated in the inaugural ceremony.
The exhibition is an important government initiative. “Spread over seven days, AFED 2018 is showcasing the latest developments in military products and technology,” said Maj. Gen. Attiya Al-Maliki, an AFED spokesman. “This fourth edition of AFED shows an increase in the number of exhibitors and displayed products.”
Referring to the participation and achievements of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI), the state-owned Saudi defense company, Dr. Andreas Schwer, SAMI chief executive, said: “Saudi Arabia is one of the top five countries in the world in terms of military spending, and the establishment of SAMI was an ambitious step as part of the country’s strategy to localize and globalize its military manufacturing industry.”
Schwer said: “SAMI’s participation will open up doors for future long-term partnerships, laying the cornerstone for SAMI to localize 50 percent of government military spending, and become one of the top 25 military industry companies in the world.
“With a strategic framework in place, SAMI aims to contribute around SR14 billion ($3.73 billion) directly to Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product (GDP), increase the value of national exports by about SR5 billion, invest over SR6 billion for research and development, and create over 40,000 direct jobs locally, by the year 2030.”
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Referring to the Turkish participation in AFED and the possibilities of a tie-up with Saudi companies, especially SAMI, Prof. Demir said: “Saudi Arabia announced that Turkey is the first guest-of-honor country at the AFED, making it an international exhibition, which has been held at the national level before. This decision reflects the deep historical relations and close cooperation between Turkey and Saudi Arabia,” he said, referring to the participation of 25 top-notch Turkish companies in the exhibition.
He added: “Within this framework, it is a pleasure for the leading Turkish defense industry firms, which have developed significant capabilities at designing and producing major defense platforms and systems in line with the procurement projects and needs of the Turkish armed forces, to demonstrate their products and capabilities at AFED 2018. The aims of AFED are to gather Turkish defense industry companies with their Saudi counterparts in order to seek and explore joint production opportunities and deepen the already strong cooperation between the two countries within the framework of Vision 2030.”
Prof. Demir said that the high participation and strong interest of the Turkish defense industry firms in the exhibition demonstrated their sincere will and importance attached to cooperation with Saudi Arabia. As a result of large investments in the defense industry of Turkey, the number of the country’s defense projects has reached 600 at a size of $60 billion, and the defense industry has reached a production capacity of more than $6 billion per year and an export capacity of $2 billion as of today.
Several ministers and diplomats including Minister of Labor and Social Development Ali Al-Ghafis, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah A. Al-Sawahah; and Turkish Ambassador Erdogan Kok attended the inaugural ceremony.