Kazakhstan is eyeing cooperation with Türkiye in the military sector, according to the head of Kazakhstan’s Association of Defence Industry Enterprises. In an interview with Anadolu, AibekBaryssov took the opportunity to first offer his condolences over the devastating earthquakes that hit Türkiye in early February. “We are with you. Our hearts are with you. We pray every day for the people affected by the earthquakes,” he said.
Baryssov said the Central Asian nation’s defence industry started on a foundation of former Soviet enterprises, and in recent years, several new modern plants were built.
“We produce combat wheeled vehicles and fire-control systems designed to assist a ranged weapon system to target, track, and hit a target. Our plants produce military vessels, machine guns, cannons. Recently we launched a cartridge factory. It’s still getting up to speed and doesn’t yet work at 100%,” he said.
The association also includes enterprises that produce air defence systems and radio stations and provide maintenance for Soviet-era tanks.There are also IT companies developing software, including for fire-control systems, which is “a noticeable achievement,” Baryssov noted.
Several enterprises are joint ventures with the Turkish defence corporation Aselsan and work “in a wide range of arms production,” he said.
Baryssov said the association would like to step up cooperation with Türkiye.
“There are reasons why we want to cooperate with Türkiye. We are brotherly nations. We are all Turkic people. Also, Türkiye is an example for us of love and respect for its own products.
“Türkiye is an example of how the consciousness of Kazakhstanis should grow towards their Kazakhstani products. My opinion is that the Turkish army has become the second-strongest in NATO and has gone far ahead in the production of the defence complex largely thanks to this feeling of love for everything domestic, Turkish,” he said.
Baryssov added that in general, Turkish people’s love for their culture, goods, and work and their attitude towards Turkish producers are the primary reasons for Türkiye’s success in many areas.
“This is the spirit! I think 85% of the success of the Turkish industry is based on the support of its manufacturers,” he said.
Baryssov, who also chairs the Made in Kazakhstan Movement, called Türkiye “an example of patriotism and correct economic nationalism” in all aspects related to domestic products.
“We would like to develop close ties with Türkiye, taking into account our successful cooperation in the defence industry. We would like to develop it in many directions.
“For example, production, or at the initial stage, we could start from assembling knock-down kits of drones. We’re also interested in the production of ammunition of all NATO standards. We’re particularly interested in the production of 155-caliber shells for howitzers,” he said.
If Türkiye is not ready to launch full joint production of drones, then perhaps cooperation can start by organizing facilities for drone maintenance, he said.
At the same time, for artillery, shells, and missiles, Kazakhstan may offer “comprehensive options” for cooperation, he said.
Baryssov said the shift to NATO standards is an important issue on the agenda of Kazakhstan’s military producers, as at the moment, the bloc has the highest defence industry standards.
“NATO standards are more modern. One of our factories, Kazakhstan Paramount Engineering, produces wheeled vehicles. Their Barys 8×8 vehicle can withstand a 10 kg trotyl (TNT) explosion. This is more than an anti-tank mine.
“We’re talking about the life and health of people here – either they live and remain in good health after an explosion or not. That’s why we need to move to NATO standards,” he said.