By Handan Gunes
ISTANBUL (AA) – A three-day defense fair kicked off in Istanbul on Thursday with the aim to gather participants from across the country.
The SAHA Expo Fair 2018 focuses on the latest technologies, systems and products developed by the domestic defense industry.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Turkish Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank said that the fair has strategic importance for Turkey.
Saying that many products are now being locally produced, Varank added: "For the last 16 years, Turkey raised the promotion of indigenous products in the defense industry from 24 percent to 65 percent."
He said that nearly 3,000 intermediate products worth $30 billion were imported but efforts were underway to find locally produced alternatives for them.
Varank added the ministry along with the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) significantly contributes to the research and development of defense-related products.
He noted that the ministry also leads a program with TUBITAK to motivate expat scientists to return to the country.
The fair set to take place biannually exhibits products of defense, maritime, aviation and aerospace industries.