By Gokhan Ergocun
ISTANBUL (AA) - The Turkish government and private sector spearheaded significant technological advances during 2019, including a flying car, indigenous electric vehicle, and a laser gun.
The central government has taken important steps in technology, defense, and aviation and has continued to support the private sector and educational activities, according to coverage over the year by Anadolu Agency.
After starting work on producing an indigenous car in 2018, Turkey completed its development and design in 18 months and presented its first prototype on Friday.
The 200- and 400-horsepower car will start production in 2022 with five different models -- SUV, sedan, c-hatchback, b-SUV and b-MPV.
Turkey has different vehicle and engine producers such as defense firm BMC and diesel-engine manufacturer Erinmotor, and many defense firms designing, producing, and introducing different types of defense vehicles and guns, including armored vehicles, laser guns, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and military equipment.
The Turkish Aerospace multi-role utility helicopter called Gokbey, introduced this December, made its first certification flight in July.
In July, U.S.-based Defense News announced that five Turkish defense companies were among the world’s top 100 defense firms.
Meanwhile, Turkish drone maker Baykar unveiled the first Turkish flying car, Cezeri, in August, with the car set to hit the market in some 10-15 years.
After forming its own space agency in December 2018, Turkey also announced that 2020 will see the release of its National Space Program.
- Huge technology events
In September, 1.7 million people attended Teknofest, Turkey’s largest aviation and technology event, held at Istanbul Ataturk Airport.
This March the Eurasia region's biggest industrial fair WIN EURASIA brought together more than 1,300 firms from many sectors in Istanbul.
A huge defense event, the 14th International Defense Industry Fair (IDEF'19), was held in Istanbul in May with major participation.
International entertainment and games expos Gaming Istanbul (GIST) 2019 and GameX 2019, featuring video game and technology giants such as Dell, HP, Sony, Fortnite, Nintendo, and Microsoft, was also held this year.
Istanbul also hosted the International Automotive Engineering Conference (IAEC) in November.
- Scientific activities
Some 127 scientists from 21 countries started to do research in Turkey under a government-funded fellowship program launched in December 2018.
During the year, in many cities of the country, technology laboratories were launched for children and young students.
Earlier this year, Turkey sent its 3rd National Antarctic Science Expedition to set up the Turkish Scientific Research Camp on Horseshoe Island. A three-person Anadolu Agency team also joined the expedition at the bottom of the world.
- 2020 plans
The country aims to continue to work on indigenous, high value-added production and to raise the share of its medium- and high-technology exports.
Turkey will establish model plants in cities to support small- and medium-sized enterprises' (SMEs) technological development and innovative capacity.
Turkey's Scientific and Technological Research Council (TUBITAK) will produce an indigenous microprocessor called CAKIL to be used in the defense industry.
TUBITAK will also establish an artificial intelligence institute in 2020 to help the country become a bigger global player.