Visitors are looking at the Turkish Aselsan stand at the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition & Conference (DIMDEX 2024) at the Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, Qatar, on March 5, 2024. (Photo by Noushad Thekkayil/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

BEIRUT — Turkish defense electronics giant Aselsan announced today a new Latin American office in Santiago, Chile, the latest move in the company’s global expansion.

The office, which the company dubbed Aselsan Latin America, “will make a great contribution to Aselsan’s long-term potential cooperation in Latin America,” the company said. The announcement was made at Chile’s International Air and Space Fair, FIDAE 2024, and the opening of the office was attended by Suay Alpay, Turkey’s deputy minister of national defense.

“We are confident that this strategic expansion will bolster our operations and contribute to our sustained growth and success in Latin America. Aselsan Latin America will further strengthen our capabilities and presence in this dynamic market by eliminating the time difference between Turkey and this part of the world,” Aselsan’s general manager, Ahmet Akyol, said in a statement.

The new office comes on the heels of significant growth for Aselsan, which took a leap in income during 2023, amounting to 7.4 billion Turkish Liras ($230 million) — a 520 percent increase from the 1.19 billion liras ($37 million) in 2022, according to local reports. Exports played a considerable role in this increase, as Aselsan sealed export contracts in 2023 worth $601 million. Prior to today’s announcement, Aselsan operated in a dozen countries outside Turkey through foreign offices or branches, all in the Eastern Hemisphere, according to the firm’s most recent financial report.

Turkish defense expert and senior fellow at the Hudson Institute Can Kasapoglu said that opening the new office in Latin America should help Aselsan diversify its exports and be an opening to the Global South.

“It is important to see what they’ll be in business about. Nonetheless, Turkey wants to navigate in all possible weapons markets,” Kasapoglu told Breaking Defense.

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In July 2023, Aselsan reportedly won a contract to modernize the Chilean Army’s Leopard 2A4 tanks fleet, equipping them with new systems, including electric drive systems for the turrets and cannons, combat management systems, and identification friend or foe (IFF) systems.

Defense firms half a world away are increasingly eyeing opportunities in Latin America. Breaking Defense has previously reported on the expansion of Gulf contractors into Brazil, for example.

The area is an attractive expansion target because it’s a “niche region that has the ambitions to build up their militaries but don’t face pressing military threats,” analyst Ryan Bohl told Breaking Defense for that report in September.