Turkey is moving ahead with work to establish a national space body after the country's policy and lawmakers prepared the legislative framework for the Turkish Space Agency (TSA) last year, Transport, Maritime Affairs, and Communications Minister Ahmet Arslan has said.
Arslan told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the agency would further Turkey's space ambitions and enable it to produce and launch its own satellites. It will also help carry out activities in the field of aerospace, follow and use latest technologies, and most importantly coordinate different projects.
He said that even though the Science, Industry, and Technology Ministry and National Defense Ministry carry out different projects from time to time, it was important to coordinate them under one roof for a bigger presence in the sector in order to participate in the growing global competition while adding value to the country's exports.
He said that majority of the related studies on establishing the TSA were initiated in 2010. Recalling that the Directorate General of Aeronautics and Space Technologies was established in 2011 within the Transport, Maritime Affairs, and Communications Ministry, Arslan said: "As we have seen, the fact that we have a general directorate and that there are structures under different names in other units make it difficult for the country to follow a single policy within a common framework and make it difficult to quickly achieve the target."
"The Draft Law on the Establishment of the Turkish Space Agency and the Arrangement of Spatial Activities is on Parliament's agenda but the issue is yet to be discussed at Parliament after it was delayed by the constitutional amendment and the summer vacation."
Explaining that the TSA will be established with projects to be carried out within this legislative year, Arslan said Turkey wants to be a country that not only produces satellites but also launches them.
Arslan revealed that the ministry was collaborating with different universities to establish the agency and indicated that it was very important that space activities be carried out under a single roof with the help of a unit that is affiliated to the Prime Ministry.
Claiming that the future is in outer space, he said: "We will be present in this sector and carry out relevant projects to create added-value to our country. Our future projects will also include manned space missions."