Feb 9, 2021 - Science

Erdoğan says Turkey will reach the Moon by 2023

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking in Ankara, Turkey, on Feb. 9.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan speaking in Ankara, Turkey, on Feb. 9. Photo: Ali Balikci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced Tuesday a 10-year space program that includes missions to the Moon and the development of new satellite systems.

Why it matters: Erdoğan said his country plans to send its citizens into space with international cooperation, build a spaceport with other countries and create a "global brand" of satellite technology, according to AP.

What he's saying: "The national space program will carry our country to an upper league in the global space race," Erdoğan said, according to Turkish state media. "The primary and most important mission of the program is to make the first contact with the Moon in our republic's centennial year [2023]."

  • Erdoğan added that Turkey has spent 2.1 billion liras (around $300 million) on satellite, space, launching systems and space equipment in the last 18 years.

Of note: However, Erdoğan did not give specific details on how the county plans to achieve its ambitious goals.

The big picture: Russian state media reported Tuesday that Turkish Space Agency President Serdar Huseyin Yildirim said Turkey is in the process of a draft agreement with Russia over space cooperation.

  • "For sure, Russia is a very important space nation, we are well aware of that. We indeed want to cooperate," Yildirim said.
  • Erdoğan spoke to Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk last month on possible cooperation in space technologies with Turkish companies, according to Bloomberg.
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