By Sena Guler
Turkey is getting close to producing its own engine, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said late Wednesday.
“Turkey is about to produce a local engine,” Erdogan said, speaking during a special live broadcast on local channel 24 in northern Rize province.
Erdogan’s announcement comes in the wake of his recent remarks on the country’s first indigenous automobile, which is expected to contribute 50 billion euros ($58.7 billion) to the country’s GDP and hit the roads in 2021.
Speaking on Turkey’s local defense industry, Erdogan said his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party has increased production to 65 percent from 20 percent during their time in power. He added the country was now independent from foreign sources.
He said Turkey is manufacturing its own drones and armed drones and the country produces its own rifles.
“Also, a prototype for a tank has been produced, and mass production will start,” he added.
Noting that Turkey produces ATAK helicopters, Erdogan said they have begun exporting them now.
Speaking about the opposition, he slammed them for not knowing the economy.
“They think that the economy is only the money you have in your pocket. [But the] economy is not limited to the money in the pocket,” he said.
Touching on the recently opened historic Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP), Erdogan stressed the importance of the project.
TANAP is a natural gas pipeline that stretches from the Turkish-Georgian border to the Turkish-Greek border and supplies natural gas to Turkey and also European countries.
The 1,850-kilometer pipeline is the largest section of the 3,500-km Southern Gas Corridor, which was inaugurated on May 29 in Baku.
Also mentioning the Turkish Stream natural gas pipeline, which will carry gas from Russia under the Black Sea to Turkish Thrace, Erdogan said the two projects were not a substitute to each other and the Turkish Stream pipeline is just as important as TANAP.
The project agreement between Turkey and Russia for the Turkish Stream pipeline was signed on Oct. 10, 2016 and was ratified by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 7.
One of the pipelines, with a capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters, is expected to supply the Turkish market, while a second pipeline will carry gas to Europe.
“All of these are making Turkey a [gas] line. We are distributing it to Europe from here,” he said, adding natural gas will no longer be an issue for Turkey, as it would have the authority to increase or decrease the amount of gas flow.