Türkiye aims to boost domestic missile’s range, president pledges

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan

ANKARA : Citing ongoing crises across the globe, Türkiye’s president on Saturday said his country not only survived troubling times but is also moving forward as it aims to increase the range of its domestic missile from 565 kilometers to 1,000 kilometers (351 to 621 miles).

During a visit to the southwestern Mugla province, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said since he took office in the early 2000s domestic defense industry production of the nation’s arsenal rose 20% to 80%.

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“National matters are above politics, and should remain so. If we have achieved gains in the Mediterranean, the Aegean, and the Black Seas, we must protect this together, without exception,” he said.

Saying that Türkiye now produces its own unmanned drones and combat drones, Erdogan underlined the aerial combat vehicle Bayraktar Kizilelma “will carry the bomb carried by the F-16 after it starts mass production. What do the Greeks say now? They say, ‘What are those Crazy Turks up to?'”

In December, Turkish defense firm Baykar held the maiden flight of the Bayraktar Kizilelma, or Red Apple.

Featuring a low-radar signature thanks to its design, the Kizilelma will be able to perform the most challenging missions. It will also be capable of flying with a payload of up to 1,500 kilograms (3,300 pounds), equipped with Turkish-made munitions, and a high situational awareness with the active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, also developed domestically.

Erdogan said the testing of domestic missiles is continuing, and added that such tests are “scaring” Greece, underlining tests from the coastal city of Izmir, near Greek islands in the Aegean.

“Tests are being carried out from Izmir, and a missile that might be launched from there begins to scare them,” said the president.

“I say, ‘O Greek, we have no business with you as long as you behave yourself. Just behave yourself’.”

Erdogan stressed that Türkiye’s defense industry is growing stronger and that terrorist groups are being “crushed.” — AA

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