Turkey’s first aeronautical expo kicked off on Wednesday with the participation of national and international dignitaries.
Speaking at Eurasia Show in southwestern Antalya province, Yuksel Coskunyurek, the Turkish deputy minister for transportation, maritime and telecommunications, said: "Since 2003, we invested over $4.5 billion in the aviation sector with the private sector's support.
"Currently, $13.5 billion worth of investments are being processed."
The number of airports in Turkey has grown to 55 from only 26 in 2003. From 35 million passengers in 2003, the figure has increased to over 200 million, he added.
Highlighting the need to produce and develop technology locally, he said: "Eurasia Airshow will contribute to the promotion of Turkey's aerospace sector."
Ismail Demir, undersecretary for the defense industry of Turkey, said the perception that the country cannot be a key player in the aviation sector was changing.
Speaking about Turkish projects of F16 optimization, Atak helicopter, Gokturk-1 and Gokturk-2 satellites and warplanes, he said: "Turkey aims for excellence in the aviation sector and this expo is a glowing example."
Oleg Bocharov, the Russian deputy minister of industry and trade, said: "In the coming five days we will discuss joint efforts."
The five-day event — held under the auspices of the Turkish Presidency and with Turkey's national flag carrier Turkish Airlines as its main sponsor — will bring together major players of the global aerospace industry.
A total of 73 planes will be displayed and around 320 companies, including 35 foreign firms, will showcase their products at the event.
Trade agreements worth $10 billion are expected to be signed.
Anadolu Agency is the global communications partner for the event.
* Gokhan Ergocun contributed to the story from Ankara