Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, is ready to cooperate in the field of space exploration, local media reported on Thursday.
“Putin would like to work with Turkey in space. Our teams will study this and will create a roadmap,” Erdoğan told reporters on Thursday following his three-hour face-to-face meeting with Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi a day earlier.
“There is even a further offer: By creating one platform at sea and another on land, we can jointly work on firing test rockets into space,” the Turkish president added.
In early 2021 Erdoğan unveiled Turkey’s 10-year national space program that includes sending its first rocket to the moon as early as 2023 among its 10 strategic goals.
Turkey launched its Turksat 5A satellite into orbit from the United States in cooperation with SpaceX in January. The Turksat 5B satellite is planned to be launched in October.
The country had previously launched reconnaissance and communications satellites, set up a satellite systems integration and test center and manufactured a domestic HD satellite called IMECE, which is expected to be launched in 2022.
Erdoğan was also asked about allegations that some ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) members support opposition parties’ idea that Turkey should switch back to a parliamentary system of governance.
“Would a government that brought the presidential system tag along after the opposition [on this matter]? Such a thing can never happen. We brought the presidential system and we are happy with it. God willing, we will continue on our way with the presidential system,” he responded.
Through a referendum in April 2017, Turkey switched from a parliamentary system of governance to an executive presidential system that granted Erdoğan and his ruling AKP sweeping powers and was criticized for removing constitutional checks and balances, thus leading to a further weakening of Turkish democracy.
Erdoğan was re-elected president under the new system in 2018.
A report released in April by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), one of Europe’s largest foreign policy think tanks, stated that Turkey’s presidential system had crippled institutions in the country, weakening the parliament, undermining the separation of powers and politicizing the judiciary during the two-and-a-half years since its introduction in 2018.