According to Ahmet Arslan, the Turkish Minister for Transport, Maritime Affairs, and Communications, the eagerly anticipated Turkish space agency will be established this legislative year.
Quoted in Turkish newspaper The Daily Sabah, Arslan justified the need for a Turkish space agency when he 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.”
Arslan also said that once established, the Turkish space agency shall oversee all Turkish satellite manufacturing and needs, the development of Turkey’s own indigenous space launch capability and launch centre, all other aerospace requirements, and even a human spaceflight programme.
“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,” said Arslan.
According to Arslan, the Turkish government is in talks with a number of universities to help with satellite and space research and development.
Talk of a Turkish space agency has been on the agenda since at least 2010, but due to a number of bureaucratic and political issues, not least the attempted coup in July 2016. This said, many of the delays appear to be self-imposed, as Arslan indicated when he said:
“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.”
Once established, the Turkish space agency will be a part of the Turkish Prime Minister’s office, and will comprise of officials and experts fro a number of ministries and agencies, including the Science, Industry, and Technology, and National Defence, ministries.