MURAT İKINCI

Turkey 2020 | INDUSTRY | INTERVIEW

STM is deeply involved in the country's defense sector, building ships and submarines for export to Turkey's allies, as well as developing cybersecurity products.

Murat İkinci
BIOGRAPHY

Murat İkinci was promoted to his current position in 2018. Before this, he was a deputy general manager responsible for engineering and consulting, including naval programs, defense procurement, consultancy services, and airworthiness consultation services. Prior to that, İkinci had served in different positions at STM since 2000. He earned a bachelor's and a master's in computer science from Bilkent University in Ankara. He completed the executive MBA program at the same university in 2011.

STM recently completed several significant projects for the Pakistani Navy. How important is this strategic relationship for STM's future?
Turkey has close relations with Pakistan as we have deep historical ties. STM and the Pakistani Navy have been and are still working together in the training area, especially with young naval officers. That training relationship has brought us an opportunity to improve our business relations with Pakistan because its navy wants to use the same platforms and technologies in Pakistan.

STM has signed a contract for the development of four corvettes for the Pakistani Navy under the MILGEM program. Why does the contract call for the building of two vessels in Turkey and two in Pakistan?
Many countries want to develop their technology, especially for the defense industry, because it has strategical importance for national security. Similar to Turkey, Pakistan wants to establish its domestic defense industry. One cannot depend on other countries for their defense requirements. With that in mind, we offered to build two ships in Pakistan. It improves the country's capabilities and localization, which is vital for the Pakistani Navy to strengthen its overall infrastructure and increase the capability of its human resources. The difference between STM and its western competitors is that STM doesn't see a country as an open market; on the contrary, it offers to transfer its technology. Many countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Brazil, Peru, and Colombia are demanding such contracts. We offer them the same service, and they are impressed by our offer.

What regions or specific countries will have a high demand for STM's products?
In terms of regions, Asia, South America, and Africa are our target markets. Moreover, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the MENA region are our focus areas at present. It is not easy to compete within the penetrated developed markets in Europe and North America. Due to that, we are investigating emerging markets, especially those seeking an opportunity to build their own technology. Our focus countries are interested in the MILGEM Corvette program chiefly, and also submarine modernization. Cybersecurity is a hot market across the globe, and STM's cyber capabilities allow it to penetrate this market as well. We have remarkable cybersecurity capabilities, which we use for the government and other strategic institutions in Turkey. We are following our export strategy for all our products and aim to improve our export potential. Our teams are working hard to find new clients. At the same time, we are focused on developing our business in the international market, including products such as navy platforms, submarines, cybersecurity solutions, and drones. After that point, we want to use our leverage and engineering capability to create a new business area, which can be a new area for the market. On the other hand, there are numerous technologies in the international market that companies in Turkey are unaware of. We plan to find these and bring them to Turkey in the long term.

What share of STM's cybersecurity revenue comes from the private sector?
About half of our revenue within the cybersecurity segment comes from corporates. Cybersecurity is not a government issue only, as every corporate and company has to defend itself, especially as data is becoming a strategic target. We offer our products to both the government and corporates and are trying to improve our offerings in line with future requirements. That is why we included AI services in our list of services; it acts as a leverage point because corporates can acquire our AI services at a reasonable cost. Otherwise, companies have to hire a separate team, which requires substantial investment. Incurring such a cost is not probable for SMEs.