Erdoğan says technology tied to political independence
Political independence is dependent on economics and technological development, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Thursday.
"Political independence is doomed to be just on paper unless it is backed by economy and technology," he told an awards ceremony at the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey in Ankara.
Erdoğan highlighted Ottoman advances and said modern Turkey had failed to maintain their pace of innovation.
"Piri Reis was able to draw exact detailed maps of the America continent, the Atlantic Ocean and the coasts of Africa," he said, referring to the Ottoman navigator, who produced one of the earliest world maps in the 16th century.
He also mentioned Hezarfen Ahmet Çelebi, who reportedly glided across the Bosphorus from Istanbul's Galata Tower in the 17th century with a pair of wings.
"Why have the Turkish people lost this position as the grandchildren of such ancestors who undersigned numerous achievements," Erdoğan said.
"Some say this is because of a lack of money, some relate it to manpower and some others point to the state itself, or academics, as the source of the problem."
He added: "Our biggest need is not money, oil, diamonds or weapons -- it is our self-confidence in success. You see those who have oil and money now. Believe me, we are far in front of them."
Turks should "stop following and imitating others and start being at the forefront to be the ones who are imitated and followed."