I would say that innovation is the only way that can get us out of the middle income trap. In order to stand out from the competition, the product must be not only new, but also value-added. For this reason, the priority of each sector should be to increase value-added exports.
Our defence and aerospace industry is a sector that we can cite an example in both product diversity and national technology development. Our aerospace industry exports are growing in double digits every year. The sector, which grew by 37 percent in 2022, exceeded 4.5 billion dollars in exports in the last 12 months as of March.
In addition to the value-added exports of defence and aerospace industry, its contribution to the nationalization of technology is immeasurable. The innovation learnt from this field could be invested in many manufacturing industry.
In this respect, we find the TEKNOFEST Aerospace and Technology Festival that held at the end of April very valuable. As Türkiye Exporters Assembly, we have been give full support to TEKNOFEST, which is organized with the partnership of many organizations that play a role in the development of national technology, since its establishment.
If we look at the history of technology, many new inventions have completed their technological development in the countries that embraced them rather than in the lands where they were born. Today, we can take rockets sent into space as an example. While Western countries have turned this invention, which China uses in festival shows, into an instrument of war, Russia has turned it into a technological tool for space research.
Today, private initiatives supported by the American Space Agency have started the production of shuttles for space tourism.
For this reason, not only a new invention, but also the value we will add to existing technologies is very important. We can achieve this through the innovation culture we will create in the young individuals of our country. TEKNOFEST is a very important event in terms of creating awareness in the process of Turkey's transformation into a society that produces and develops technology. Thousands of people visit the festival and see that they should not limit their dreams with the national technologies they see. Personally, I see TEKNOFEST as an extremely important platform to open new horizons for our youth.
At TEKNOFEST, we introduced 19 different entrepreneurs from our TİM-TEB Start-Up Houses, four projects of InovaTIM and our InovaTİM Formula vehicle in our booth area. Our booth area attracted great attention of young people.
Türkiye Innovation Week, which we organize every two years as Türkiye Exporters Assembly, was launched to raise awareness in the process of transforming our country into a society that produces and develops technology, just like TEKNOFEST. Our common dream is to have value-added national technologies.
We can only turn this dream into reality if our exporters of all scales, as well as our entrepreneurs, believe in innovation.