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Ankara uses Afrin campaign to showcase Turkish-made weapons

Amid snubs by Western arms suppliers, leaders in Ankara are eager to highlight progress in the Turkish defense industry during the military offensive on Afrin.
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ANKARA, Turkey — On Jan. 21, a day after Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch against Afrin in northern Syria, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim briefed media representatives about the campaign, putting special emphasis on one issue. The operation, he said, was being carried out with weapons and ammunition that were up to 75% Turkish made.

As the operation proceeded, Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli made the same point in a series of tweets, stressing the notion of “native and national” that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has come to repeat in various contexts. According to the minister, all ammunition used in the operation was Turkish produced, and the local share in Turkey’s defense industries has risen to 70% from 18% 15 years ago. He mentioned the smart HGK bombs, manufactured jointly by the Mechanical and Chemical Industry Company (MKEK) and the Military Electronics Industries (ASELSAN), multi-barrel rocket launchers made by the MKEK and the Firtina (Storm) howitzers produced in Turkish military plants. “Our ammunition stocks are so abundant that they will suffice to wipe out terrorism not only from Afrin but from the entire region, and we are continuing to produce,” Canikli wrote.

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