ISTANBUL, July 27 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has vowed that Malaysia will not waste the opportunity to take up Turkey’s offers for collaboration in trade and manufacturing, especially in aviation and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
As he concluded his official visit here today, the prime minister said it was Ankara itself that has offered its hands in such areas, and the offers have solved Putrajaya’s problems of trying to achieve technological transfers from other reluctant countries.
“We feel that the offer given by them must be taken, so we can leap-frog in achieving technology in aviation and UAVs,” he told a press conference at the Sabiha Gokcen Airport here.
“The UAVs are really important because now everything uses these UAVs, that are remotely-controlled from land.”
On Thursday, the Malaysian delegates were given a tour of the sprawling Turkish Aerospace Industries complex, before an air show featuring its T129 Atak attack and reconnaissance helicopter, Hurkus trainer combat aircraft, and the Anka medium-altitude long endurance UAV.
This comes amid Turkish’s growing ambition to ramp up its defence industry and exports, with UAV production reportedly a key focus of its plan.
Dr Mahathir said he was impressed by the attack helicopter in the demonstration, and found value in the visit.
“They also offer collaborations in certain fields. They are ready to give us access to their technologies.
“We no longer have to find so hard in other places to acquire those technologies. And they are ready to give their technologies,” he added.
He also praised Turkey’s advancement in defence technology, saying that when he last visited more than two decades ago, the country could only assemble the F-16 fighter jet for American firm General Dynamics.
“But now they seem capable of designing, manufacturing, and testing their own products,” he said.
Last night, Dr Mahathir said Turkey has pledged to offer Malaysia whatever it needs in order to develop a defence industry, but Putrajaya still needs to consider the jump into the field as it would cost money.