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Interview with Hilal Ünal Türkan, OSSA



Hilal ünal Türkan is the Coordinator and Project Manager of the OSSA Defence and Aviation Cluster (Turkey).

“We aim to strengthen the position and the technological capabilities of our companies”.



In a few months OSSA will celebrate its 10th anniversary. What are the main challenges achieved in this decade? How has the aviation sector in Turkey changed over the years?

If we are to list our goals in order, we aim to increase the production of the needs of the aerospace and defence industry and to render the firms in the cluster competitive in the international market. We also aim to help them become preferred sub-suppliers with increased cooperation, and to develop their capabilities & penetrate into the international market. Cooperating with the universities and the organised industrial region through technology transfer to SMEs and focusing on regional competitive advantages in a specialised sector has helped to create competition with skill development in sub-suppliers.

Over the past 10 years, we have tried to reach all the SMEs that work for the defence and aviation ındustry. We have increased the number of firms to 164, enhancing exports of the member firms while also reducing difficulties faced by them direct exports. We have prepared our members for quality processes and we have also supported our members to help them achieve certification.


What are the key strengths of the Turkish aerospace and defence sector? One of the OSSA’s goals is to increase domestic production. What is the current situation of the Turkish aerospace companies in the international market?

Our region is the most developed area in terms of technology, as there are several SMEs and one of the biggest universities and research centres, located in Ankara. Over the last 10 years both the number and the quality of SMEs that work for the aviation industry has increased. Production of the aviation industry has increased by four times, the export rate has increased by five times and R&D investments have increased by more than 10 times. The construction of a large Organised Industrial Region in Ankara for the aviation industry is still ongoing. It is estimated that it will be completed by the end of this year.

The aerospace and civil aerospace industry in our region is currently developing rapidly and it is the most developed area in terms of aerospace. SMEs in Turkey are not only active in aerospace but the region is fast becoming the place where all the latest technology is applied. This also has a huge effect on SME growth in terms of supplying the OEMs.

As we can see from the data below, the civil aviation sector in Turkey is rapidly developing and investment is increasing significantly.

The following information and figures are according to IATA, ICAO, ECAC, ACI, EASA and EUROCONTROL.

Turkish Airlines – 400 aircraft on order and will be added to the fleet in 2020.

As of December 31st 2013, Turkey had:

  • 54 Air taxis
  • 51 General aviation airfields
  • 22 Balloons
  • 39 Agricultural spraying operations
  • 385 Passenger planes
  • A total of 1,240 operating aircraft
  • The number of international passengers, which ranks 8th in the world, is 73 million


OSSA Defence and Aviation Cluster brings together 164 enterprises, and you work towards assisting the member companies in their development. Why is it so important for the cluster culture to keep on growing?

OSSA member firms have the ability to produce in the aviation sector, taking into account customer needs and international standards. They also have the skills to handle complex and difficult parts with a high level of high precision, and the ability to create a partnership solution for the primary industries. They also have skills in the areas of expertise of aerospace companies and industrial manufacturers. With the goal of finding new employment opportunities and new markets, OSSA has increased international competitiveness of member firms, has identified deficiencies and has looked for solutions to solve them. We have prepared strategies to create a business plan. We encourage firms to act more proactively in terms of exports and inform them about opportunities. We create awareness and work in training to overcome the lack of information about exports while also reducing costs.

Considering the globalised structure of the aviation industry, OSSA helps by facilitating the integration of member firms into international value chains. We aim to strengthen the position and the technological capabilities of our companies. This will help them face up to the challenges of the market.

We see our 164 members as one and our work reflects this. We know all about SMEs and their needs. We have good relationships with our partners and our supporting organisations.


The Cluster has a very close relationship with universities. What are the main programmes OSSA are involved in for the training of aerospace professionals?

The cluster has a group of academics who are willing to collaborate with the industry. And also the cluster supports the enterprises who want to be a part of a project run by universities and research institutions, sharing knowledge and skills, testing services and collaborations in R&D. We are conducting one to one interviews with the Aerospace Engineering Department of METU (Middle East Technical University) and we are also collaborating on the ‘’New Things, New Ideas’’, projects about civil aviation with METU.

We are doing presentations at our universities to promote the activities of the cluster companies. We are in collaboration with THK University to provide instructors and encourage relationships between member firms and the Anatolian University to prepare an aviation inventory. Also a cooperation protocol has been signed with THK University for the development of sector studies.


Recently you participated in Aerospace & Defence Meetings Seville 2016 (ADM), and from October 11th-13th the International Cooperation Days in Defence & Aerospace (ICDDA) will take place in Ankara. What do these international aerospace events mean for the OSSA Cluster? Are there possibilities for collaboration with the Andalusian Aerospace Cluster?

Yes, we participated in Aerospace & Defence Meetings Seville 2016 (ADM). In the meeting, we had the chance to talk about the future needs of the sector with foreign companies that operate in the field of aviation. We spoke about ICDDA 2016 and how effective the event is for the sector and SMEs. We invited them to ICDDA 2016 to meet our SMEs and find out about their capabilities and the potential to collaborate with them. Yes, there are possibilities of collaboration with the Andalusian Aerospace Cluster. There is huge potential in the aviation sector and we are open to all kinds of collaboration for our SMEs to help them improve their market share and make our cluster members more competitive both in the domestic and the international market.


What is the role of OSSA in transferring technology to SMEs?

We work to make our cluster members more competitive in the domestic and the international market of civil aviation. OSSA is an effective interface between the SMEs and the government. It is a support mechanism for SMEs in terms of counselling and business networking promotion. It is also an instrumental platform which finds collective solutions to common problems, and an initial gateway for SMEs to enter international markets. We are also a solid institution for OEMs to be able to reach out to more sub-contractors, and a reliable partner for universities and research centres to develop R&D projects.

We focus on manufacturing technologies and we support them to help make the production process more technological. Within the cluster, from wiring, machining, electronics and surface processing, to software engineering in many areas of business, there are companies that we can count on. This wealth of services provides increased capacity and capability, strengthens our ability to promote the Turkish aerospace industry in the international arena. We are in constant communication with primary industries and The Under-secretariat for Defence Industries. We use a web-based cluster management program, to reach everyone anytime when necessary. We are able to transfer the problems and solutions of our companies. We don’t just cover the main demands by matching them with companies from the industries and abroad, we are able to open new doors for our firms. So, basically a lot of things that we do together, our companies couldn’t do alone. We produce together for aerospace.


What are OSSA’s main objectives for the coming years?

We have to face some challenges: to make our cluster members more competitive in the domestic and the international market; to achieve solid international cooperation with different clusters around the world; and to keep the OSSA brand as strong as possible in terms of quality and consolidation.



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