Malaysia appreciated Turkey’s willingness to offer opportunities for technology transfer in the field of “aerospace and defence industries” and such opportunities should be grabbed by Malaysia, said Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The prime minister said Turkey had now achieved extraordinary success in the “aerospace industry” within a short period of time and it was something outstanding.
“During my visit here, they have shown their ability in technologies such as those concerning aeroplanes, helicopters and the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle). Twenty years ago, when I came here (Turkey), they could only assemble the F-16 aircraft.
“Now they can design, test their own products. Their helicopters look very sophisticated. Within a short time, they have succeeded in acquiring sophisticated technology,” he told Malaysian journalists at the end of his official visit to Turkey at the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, on Saturday.
Mahathir arrived in Ankara, the Turkish capital city, on Wednesday to begin his four-day visit and has been here since Friday.
Strong interest from Turkey
Mahathir said the cooperation offered was interesting. Turkey was prepared to give access to technology, something that was difficult to obtain from other parties.
“They offered cooperation in specific fields, and we do not have to look from other countries to obtain such technologies because they are prepared to offer their technology.
“We believe the opportunities offered should be taken to leapfrog, to gain technology in the fields of aircraft and UAV. The UAV is most important; everything uses UAV controlled from the ground. This had been exhibited by Turkey who displayed their capabilities, performing numerous military actions,” he said.
The prime minister said Turkish companies showed strong interest in Malaysia and this was proven during his four-day visit to the country.
“Usually companies possessing sophisticated technology would not be willing to expose their ability, but here they stated their willingness to take our engineers (from Malaysia) in the various fields, in the designing sector, manufacturing, testing and so on. Cooperation in the field of defence is very important to us. We can control technology, but it would take a long time,” he said.
Mahathir said Turkey was different from most Islamic countries because not many Muslim countries had achieved the level of development as Turkey had.
“I believe they have achieved a level of development that is not far behind the developed nations,” he said.
On Turkey that was now no longer seen as pro-United States but more towards the Russian bloc, the prime minister said that it would not have any effect on Malaysia if Malaysia was friendly towards Turkey.
“We were slightly earlier than Turkey (in being friendly with Russia). We did not buy American aircraft only... we bought the Sukhoi and MIG much earlier and there was cooperation in the field of helicopters with Russia.
“We are neutral, not bound (to any country). Turkey is a member of Nato (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) and there are certain constraints. At the same time, Europe was not prepared to accept Turkey as a member of EU (the European Union). It appears there is a misconception against Turkey,” he added.
Since Wednesday, Mahathir had a tight schedule during his visit at the invitation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The programmes included a four-eyed meeting with Erdogan and a delegation meeting on Thursday in Ankara.
Meanwhile, in Istanbul on Friday, the Malaysian Prime Minister visited the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport, which is wholly-owned and managed by Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad.
Mahathir also met with Turkish businesspersons and representatives of industries besides the Malaysian diaspora.