Turkey is using 65 percent indigenous products in its defense operations, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.

Speaking in Istanbul, at Teknofest, Turkey’s first aerospace and technology festival, Erdogan said Turkey would have faced enormous challenges during operations in Turkey and abroad "if we had not reached this level” in the defense industry.

Erdogan said Turkey is now meeting "65 percent of its defense industry needs".

He said the achievement was only possible by transforming Turkey into a technology-producing country.

"As long as we remain only a user of technology, we cannot guarantee our freedom in any area," Erdogan said.

The first condition of real freedom, said Erdogan, comes from designing, producing and exporting technology.

The four-day Teknofest Istanbul, organized by the Turkey Technology Team Foundation (T3) and the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, aims to promote and showcase Turkey's rapid technological advances.

Anadolu Agency is the global communication partner of the festival, organized at the city’s massive new airport, which is due to officially open next month.

Teknofest, which opened on Thursday, features air shows, aviation demonstrations, technology competitions, seminars on cutting-edge technology, and an international entrepreneurship summit, along with other activities.

During the festival, leading Turkish defense and technology firms and institutions such as Aselsan, Baykar, IGA, Isbak, Roketsan, TAI, Turkish Airlines, TUBITAK and TURKSAT will hold contests in a dozen different categories.