MKEK director Ret. Major General Ünal Önsipahioðlu briefed the Turkish Parliament's State Economic Enterprises Committee about MKEK's activities and said the "Turkish rifle" would be in service by 2008, following serial production. The Turkish army currently uses G-3 select fire infantry rifles made under license by MKEK. Önsipahioðlu said the MKEK worked with a total staff of 5,941, including 3,530 workers in 10 plants and two directorates in the provinces of Ankara, Kýrýkkale and Çankýrý, in order to meet all the arms, munitions, rocket and equipment needs of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).
Önsipahioðlu said three 7.62 millimeters and 5.56 millimeters infantry rifles -- one semi-automatic and two sniper -- were manufactured using computer-aided designs and manufacturing at the MKEK weapon factories. Önsipahioðlu stated that the Turkish rifle had the characteristics of third generation main battle rifles and emphasized that local private sector companies would take part in the manufacturing of the rifle's secondary parts during the serial production process.
Deputies give full support
Putting aside partisan rivalry, main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Yozgat deputy and State Economic Enterprises (KÝT) Commission member Emin Koç said this project should be fully supported. "A country with such a big and powerful army should have already started manufacturing its own arms. Turkey should have rid itself of the dependence on foreign countries and paying billions of dollars for arms from other countries," he said.
"A nation can act in a more independent way if it can manufacture its own arms. MKEK, with this project, has taken an important step in gaining its independence in arms," he added. Ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Aksaray deputy Ramazan Toprak, himself with a military background, said domestic production should have already started, referring to past embargoes and Turkey's vulnerability.
"The nationalization of the arms industry was our dream. We have not forgotten what happened to us during the Cyprus operation," he said, referring to a US embargo during the 1974 military intervention.
The 7.62-caliber infantry MKEK rifle has a barrel length of 450 millimeters and a weight of 4300 grams without the cartridge, 4550 grams with the cartridge. The rifle can fire 550 shots a minute at an effective range of 400 meters and a maximum range of 3700 meters.
Turkey exported $4.7 million in arms and ammunition in 2006. Aiming at exports of $24 million in 2007, MKEK has received significant demand from Far East, Gulf and Middle Eastern countries and has export agreements with Latin American countries, including Brazil, Chile and Uruguay. MKEK has already transformed a military weapon into a civilian hunting rifle in Turkey and manufactures the T-41 semi-automatic hunting rifle for export purposes.
TODAY'S ZAMANGüncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16