© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.Turkey has been investing in its national defence industrial base since the 1980s. As with other developing countries, Turkey’s motivations for investing in national defence industries can be boiled down to the pursuit of defence autarky, economic benefits and international prestige. However, after 40 years of investment, Turkey is unable to reach the primary goals of defence industrialisation. We argue that three factors are important to understanding Turkey’s persistence in these primary goals. First, Turkey believes that there is an overall improvement in its defence industrial capabilities and the goal of autarky is still reachable. Second, increased defence exports support the belief that Turkish defence industries have become sustainable and the trend will continue in the future. The third reason, perhaps most important of all, has to do with the domestic political gains of defence industrialisation: the AKP uses defence industry and indigenous weapon systems for prestige and, therefore, garners broader support.