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Turkey establishes its first space agency

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A presidential decree issued on Thursday announced the establishment of the Turkish Space Agency, which will decide and conduct the country’s “national space program,” Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported.

The decree outlined the bylaws for the establishment, mission and powers of the agency.

“We are forming the Turkish space agency in order to strengthen our aerospace industry, improve scientific infrastructure and human resources in the field of space technology and further boost our capacities and abilities,” Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank said in August regarding the space agency, according to the Hürriyet Daily News.

As it coincides with a high-speed train crash on Thursday in Ankara that left nine dead and 84 injured, the space agency sparked unease on social media.

“People who couldn’t prevent successive train accidents thought they could go to space by merely establishing an agency,” main opposition party co-chair Veli Ağbaba tweeted.

In early July, 24 people were killed when a passenger train derailed in Çorlu. Many people said the accident occurred because of the authorities’ failure to regularly maintain the tracks, which became dislodged following heavy rain in the region.

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