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Erdoğan eyes enhancing defense industry as regional conflicts surge

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The regional conflicts surrounding Turkey oblige the country to operate the most advanced weaponry produced with only national resources, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, stressing that it’s the right time to move to a bigger league in the defense industry and produce multiple aircraft carriers, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.

“We should now advance to a new stage in defense industry as a leading country that is no longer the follower [of other countries] but followed [by other countries],” Erdoğan said at a ceremony at the Tuzla dockyard to inaugurate new naval systems on Sunday.

Turkey is able to pursue national policies in the eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean thanks to technological achievements in the defense industry that strengthened its armed forces in the air, on land and at sea, Erdoğan said, without citing ongoing disputes with Greece.

“Turkey’s sole objective is to protect its legitimate rights and the rights of its friends,” Erdoğan said. “Looking to the future with confidence is not possible for countries that are not strong and independent in the field of defense.”

Improving the defense industry requires continued progress, and Turkey must always produce better, he said, underlining that the ultimate aim was to cultivate a development and production base to avoid dependence on foreign sources.

“Turkey is among the 10 countries that can design and produce its own warships,” Erdoğan said, informing that a multi-purpose amphibious assault ship and a light aircraft carrier, the Anadolu TGC, will set sail next year.

“I see some ship builders with us today. We can build the second and third aircraft carriers, right? Can we? Because we need those to be a deterrent at sea,” he said.

“We continue to work and produce with the idea that we don’t have a minute to lose,” the president said.

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