Turkey looking for partners to set up first station in Antarctica: minister

The Turkish team carrying out pre-feasibility studies for the Turkish base in Antarctica. (AA Photo)
The Turkish team carrying out pre-feasibility studies for the Turkish base in Antarctica. (AA Photo)

Turkey is looking for partner countries to set up a scientific research base in Antarctica to lower the cost, the Minister of Science, Industry and Technology Faruk Özlü said Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters at the Turkish Parliament Thursday, Özlü pointed out that Turkey needs to meet the requirement of sending a team of scientists to the continent three times before setting up a station.

"We sent the first team last year, there will be two more trips this year and another following one," the minister said.

The minister added that Turkey has already allocated 5 million Turkish liras ($1.27 million) for the project but is looking for partners to lower the costs.

He said Turkish officials are in contact with Britain and Chile for a possible cooperation.

Last year in April, in a historic first, a team of 14 Turkish researchers, including medical doctors, botanists, survey and geological engineers, and oceanographers from seven Turkish universities went to Antarctica on a scientific mission to study the impact of climate change.

Later in March, another group visited the carry out pre-feasibility studies for the base on the continent.

Antarctica serves as a scientific preserve since the Antarctica Treaty was signed in Washington in 1959, of which Turkey is a party.

The continent is considered the coldest on earth. The lowest temperature there was recorded in 1983 at minus 89 degrees Celsius (minus 128 Fahrenheit). In the summer, the temperatures rise to minus 15 degrees Celsius (5 Fahrenheit) or minus 5 degrees Celsius (23 Fahrenheit).

Turkey's first polar research center the Istanbul Technical University Polar Research Center, also known as PolRec was established in 2015.

The mission of the center is to carry out research on the Antarctic and develop Turkey's visibility within the international scientific community.

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