By Sevil Celik
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated Turkey’s goal of self-sufficiency in defense as he launched a warship on Monday.
“We will build our own aircraft carriers,” he said, speaking at the launching ceremony of the Kinaliada Corvette, at the Istanbul navy shipyard.
The warship has been manufactured locally under the Turkish military’s MILGEM project.
Erdogan added Turkey will not tolerate attempts to block its military initiatives.
"As a country that aims to become independent in the field of defense by 2023, we must move even faster,” he said.
“We are proud of our ability to build military ships, especially construction of submarines,” he said, adding that Turkey was among the 10 countries in the world capable of designing and manufacturing military vessels.
Erdogan said 14 projects for the construction of military ships were in the pipeline, while 10 more projects will be signed in the coming years.
He said the government attaches importance to the navy for resolving the dangers developing in the region.
Erdogan also talked about Turkey's defense industry aims. “In 2016, Turkey achieved $5 billion in production and $1.6 billion in exports, which is important but well below our targets,” he said.