War Profiteer of the Month: Otokar

An Otokar tank on display at Eurosatory 2018
An Otokar tank on display at Eurosatory 2018

The Otokar logo

Otokar is the biggest private arms company in Turkey, and specialises in military land vehicles such as tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and turret systems. Formed in 1963, the companies vehicles are now in use in 30 different countries, and the company claims there are now over 30,000 Otokar vehicles in service around the world, and is the “main land systems supplier” to the Turkish armed forces. The company manages a 552,000² factory in Sakarya, Turkey, employing 2000 members of staff and is a subsidiary of Koç Holding, Turkey's largest industrial conglomerate. As well as military vehicles, Otokar also builds a range of civilian vehicles, including buses, trucks, and trailers. In 2012, the companies revenue was over 1 billion Turkish lira ($210 billion).

The company has also been licensed to produce variants of Land Rover vehicles, with a 2010 Turkish Defence Ministry brochure stating that the vehicles were “in operation with many military and security forces around the world”, listing Albania, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Iraq, Kazakhistan, Macedonia, Nakhchivan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Romania, TRNC, Turkmenistan, Tunisia, UK, US and Uzbekistan.

Otokar regularly exhibits at a number of arms fairs around the world. The company recently exhibited at IDEF, the biggest arms fair in Midde East, where it unveiled the “ALTAY-AHT Urban Operations Tank”, a tank designed for use in “assymetrical engagements” and urban environments. The company has also recently been present at LAAD in Brazil, DSEI in London, and Eurosatory in Paris. At Eurosatory, Otokar exhibited it's TULPAR light tank for the first time.

An Otokar Cobra II vehicle. The Cobra is a 4x4 camouflaged truck with a gun on top.

Otokar has also profited from European Union border security policies. In 2015, the company won a €47 million tender to supply the Turkish military with 82 Cobra II reconnaissance and surveillance vehicles to be used for border security, paid for in large part by the EU. According to the “Expanding the Fortress” report, the Cobra II vehicles are equipped with thermal imaging and target recognition equipment. The heavily armed vehicles are used to patrol the border with Syria.

Key information

Based in: Turkey

Builds: land vehicles; tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and turret systems.

Key markets: Turkey

Financial information: 1.004 billion Turkish Lira (2012, equivelant to £192 million at current exchange rate)

Programmes & Projects
Police militarisation theme

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