Turkey’s Small and Medium Sized Space Companies Fear Being Squeezed Out of Space Business
Just as Turkey’s Space programme is about to be put on a permanent footing with the establishment of its national space agency, some Turkish entrepreneurs fear that they are being squeezed out of satellite and space business in favour of large companies such as Turksat, Rocketsan, and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).
It is alleged that space and satellite contracts that Turkish SME’s could bid on are instead being steered toward large, state-backed companies, leading some to believe that winning such contracts has more to do with political patronage and personal corruption than who provides the most competitive bid and building a sustainable and substantive national space programme.
In a recent interview with Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet Daily News, Yusuf Ata Ariak, the President of the Turkish telecoms industry association, Telkoder, said that 80 per cent of Turkey’s U.S.$152 million satellite industry revenues and orders goes to Turksat alone, allegedly at the expense of Turkish small and medium-sized businesses.
Also of concern to Ariak is a provision in Turkey’s proposed space law that stipulates that any satellite communications service in Turkey must also have a ground station on Turkish soil. Ariak believes that this provision will only dissuade small and medium-sized satellite communications companies, and will only favour Turksat in the domestic market.
Ariak told Hurriyet Daily News that Telkoder is seeking talks with the Turkish government to try and persuade policy makers to create a free space market in Turkey that, he believes, will provide the Turkish space programme with a more sustainable and more prosperous future.