Thousands of aerospace and technology enthusiasts Tuesday flocked to Atatürk Airport, as one of the biggest aviation events in the world kicked off in Istanbul.
Teknofest, a six-day event, will host a range of activities, from air shows with warplanes, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and helicopters, to seminars, summits, competitions and fairs.
Ahead of the opening ceremony, fighter jets of the Turkish and Azerbaijani air forces put on a dazzling coordinated air show over Istanbul’s Bosporus.
F-16 and F-4 jets of SOLOTÜRK, the aerobatics display team of the Turkish air force, and MiG-29 aircraft of the Azerbaijani air force took part in the show.
The 2021 edition has already seen some technology competitions being held prior to the main event. The festival features dozens of competitions in categories such as smart transportation, helicopter design, biotechnology, robotics, flying cars, rockets and unmanned underwater systems.
Selçuk Bayraktar, the chair of the event's organizer, the Turkish Technology Team Foundation (T3 Foundation), said new ideas and new inventions that move the world forward come from start-ups and young people.
“Thus, we must enlarge our start-ups much more and support them,” he said. Today, leading global media outlets speak about Turkish startups, he underlined.
Bayraktar added that in order to avoid being condemned to a world constructed by savage capitalist technology monopolies, Turkey must direct its own transformation.
Calling out to the youth, he said “don’t let the obstacles that come your way discourage you,” advising them to be original in all they do.
Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank noted that interest in the event has been increasing by the year.
Touching on Turkey’s cutting-edge defense and technology products being showcased at the event, like the nation’s first homegrown multifunctional helicopter Gökbey and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) Aksungur, Varank stressed that Turkey should be a production center for critical technologies rather than a consumer.
Mentioning flying cars, he said the size of the flying car market will reach $320 billion (TL 2.77 trillion) by 2030.
Varank said just as the foreign press is talking about Turkey’s UAV success, they will write about the country’s success in autonomous vehicles, unmanned underwater vehicles and flying cars in the coming years.
One of Turkey’s leading defense and technology firms Baykar previously introduced its flying car prototype, named Cezeri, at Teknofest in 2019.
Organized by the T3 Foundation and the Industry and Technology Ministry, Teknofest is held in various Turkish cities in even years and in the metropolis of Istanbul in odd years.
Over 200,000 students in 45 teams applied for this year’s competitions, increasing from the previous three years, Bayraktar told reporters Monday,
“In the first year, we received 20,000 applications, in the second year, 50,000, in the third year, 100,000, and in the fourth year, we received by far the highest number of applications in the world,” he noted.
Around 100,000 visitors will be allowed in an area of 450,000 square meters at the same time due to measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year, the event was organized virtually in southern Gaziantep province due to pandemic measures. In 2019, some 1.72 million people visited the event in Istanbul.
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