Turkey Reveals National Space Program and 2023 Moon Mission



Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks in Ankara, Turkey, late Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. Erdogan unveiled Tuesday an ambitious 10-year space program for his country, including missions to the moon, sending Turkish astronauts into space and developing internationally-competent satellite systems. (Image Source: Turkish Presidency, Pool)

By: Siamba Oguah, Reporter

On February 9th Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed a 10 year space program for his country. He announced the program as part of his vision for putting Turkey in a more global and regional role during a live televised event.

The most important goal of the space program is to establish “a first contact with the moon”. The first stage is “through international cooperation” while the second power utilizes Turkish rockets. “Our primary and most important goal for our national space program is the contact of the Republic, in its 100th year, with the moon. God willing we are going to the moon.”

They also hope to establish an internationally viable system of satellites. He hopes to make a “global brand” in satellite technology. He also plans to send Turkish astronauts to space with international cooperation and work with other countries to build a spaceport.

“I hope that this roadmap, which will carry Turkey to the top league in the global space race, will come to life successfully”

People criticized the government’s decision to spend vast amounts of money on their goal at a time when the economy is struggling. Supporters say the space program will provide jobs for researchers and reduce the brain drain of emigrating scientists.

Erdogan did not provide specific details on how Turkey plans to achieve its goals but he spoke too SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk by telephone discussing future cooperation on space technology.

A metal monolith that mysteriously appeared and disappeared turned out to be a publicity stunt for the event. The 3-meter-high slab had “Look at the sky, you will see the moon.” inscribed in ancient Turkic script. It was found by a farmer in the Sanliurfa province. The monolith was near UNESCO World Heritage site of Gobekli Tepe home to megalithic structures dating to 10th century BC, thousands of years before Stonehenge. It was reported gone on the 5th.

An image of the monolith was later projected on the screen as Erdogan said: “I now present to you Turkey’s 10-year vision, strategy and aims and I say, ‘Look at the sky, you will see the moon.’”