TURKEY

Turkey launches fourth corvette built as part of national ship project

TURKEY LAUNCHES FOURTH CORVETTE BUILT AS PART OF NATIONAL SHIP PROJECT

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated Turkey's goal of self-sufficiency in defense field as he launched a warship on Monday.

"We will build our own aircraft carriers," he said, speaking at the launching ceremony of the Kınalıada Corvette, at the Istanbul Navy Shipyard Command in Tuzla district.

The warship has been manufactured locally under the Turkish military's MILGEM project.

Erdoğan added Turkey will not tolerate attempts to block its military initiatives.

"As a country that aims to become independent in the field of defense by 2023, we must move even faster," he said.

"We are proud of our ability to build military ships, especially construction of submarines," he said, adding that Turkey was among the 10 countries in the world capable of designing and manufacturing military vessels.

Erdoğan said 14 projects for the construction of military ships were in the pipeline, while 10 more projects will be signed in the coming years.

He said the government attaches importance to the navy for resolving the dangers developing in the region.

Erdoğan also talked about Turkey's defense industry aims. "In 2016, Turkey achieved $5 billion in production and $1.6 billion in exports, which is important but well below our targets," he said.

During the ceremony, Erdoğan also made the first welding for Istanbul frigate, which will be Turkey's Turkey's first domestically made frigate when completed and fifth domestically made warship.

The MİLGEM project was initiated in 2000 to develop warship design and construction in Turkey. Two warships built under the scope of the project so far, named TCG Heybeliada and TCG Büyükada, have been handed over to the Turkish navy in 2011 and 2013. Construction has recently been finished for TCG Kınalıada and was finished in June 2016 TCG Burgazada, which are expected to start active duty in 2020 and 2018, respectively.

The construction of all four ships of the ongoing Ada class - named after Istanbul's Prince Islands - were undertaken by the Istanbul Shipyard Command of Turkish Armed Forces.

Two amphibious tank landing ships built by a private shipyard in Tuzla, TGC Bayraktar and TCG Sancaktar, also joined to the navy's inventory n 2017.

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