ANKARA, July 8 — Malaysia is keen to further develop cooperation with Turkey to tap the latter’s unique expertise in the defence industry.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said this matter was raised in his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Complex here yesterday, and also during his visit to two major players in the republic’s defence and aerospace industries — MKE Corporation and Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).

He said the continued modernisation of Malaysia’s defence systems took into consideration current geopolitical developments, and the scope of cooperation went beyond the mere purchase of military assets and equipment.

“On the other hand, it involves investments and manufacturing by international defence industry players in Malaysia. This approach will benefit us in terms of technology transfer, expertise and creation of job opportunities, as well as participation of local players in the industry,” he said at a news conference for Malaysian journalists at the end of his four-day official visit to Turkey today.

For the long term, the government aims to make Malaysia a hub for modern defence industry in Asean, and it includes proposals to buy military drones from Turkey which involve the setting up of factories in Malaysia.

He said the government planned to make it compulsory for companies getting tenders for supplying drones to build factories in Malaysia, with the matter to be finalised once the proposal on drone purchase was approved by the Finance Ministry.

Malaysia and Turkey are also in agreement on the need to continue supporting the struggle of the Palestinians to end the cruelty of the Zionist regime and realise Palestine as an independent and sovereign country.

“We will voice our support for the people of Palestine at the international level by working together with other Islamic countries and the OIC. We hope the issue of oppression of the Palestinians will continue to be raised at the United Nations,” he added.

Ismail Sabri said his maiden visit to Turkey as prime minister was very successful as it had achieved the desired results.

“He (President Erdogan) considers Malaysia as a friend and brother ... brotherly countries. Even meetings at formal settings were conducted in a casual manner. From start to finish, he addressed me as brother Ismail. I consider that as an honour,” Ismail Sabri said. — Bernama