Saying that Malaysia appreciated Turkey’s willingness to transfer technology, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the country had achieved extraordinary success in the aerospace industry “within a short period of time, which was outstanding.”
“During my visit here, they have shown their ability in technologies such as those concerning aeroplanes, helicopters and the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle). Twenty years ago, when I came here (Turkey), they could only assemble the F16 aircraft.
“Now, they can design (and) test their own products. Their helicopters look very sophisticated. Within a short time, they have succeeded to acquire sophisticated technology,” he told journalists at the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport here on Saturday.
Dr Mahathir arrived in the capital Ankara on Wednesday to begin his four-day official visit before proceeding to Istanbul.
The offer of cooperation, said Dr Mahathir, was rather interesting as Turkey was prepared to give access to technology, something that was difficult to obtain from other parties.
“We believe the opportunities offered should be taken to leapfrog (and) to gain knowledge of technology in the fields of aircraft and UAV.
“The UAV is (the) most important. Everything uses UAV controlled from the ground,” he said.
“This has been exhibited by Turkey which displayed its capabilities, performing numerous military actions.”
Dr Mahathir said Turkish companies had also shown strong interest in Malaysia during his visit.
“Usually, companies possessing sophisticated technology would not be willing to expose their ability but here, they stated their willingness to take our engineers (from Malaysia) in various fields – in the designing sector, manufacturing, testing and so on.
“Cooperation in the field of defence is very important to us. We can control technology but it would take a long time,” he said.
Turkey, said Dr Mahathir, was different from most Islamic countries because not many Muslim countries had achieved the level of development that the country had.
“I believe they have achieved a level of development that is not far behind the developed nations,” he said.
On Turkey that was now no longer seen as pro-United States but moving towards the Russian bloc, the Prime Minister said this would not have any effect on Malaysia.
“We were slightly earlier than Turkey (in being friendly with Russia). We did not buy American aircraft only. We bought the Sukhoi and MiG much earlier.
“We are neutral – not bound (to any country). Turkey is a member of Nato (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) and there are certain constraints,” he said.
“At the same time, Europe was not prepared to accept Turkey as a member of EU (the European Union). It appears there is a misconception against Turkey.”
Dr Mahathir had a tight schedule during his visit, which was at the invitation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The programmes included a four-eyed meeting with Erdogan as well as a delegation meeting in Ankara on Thursday.
Dr Mahathir also visited the Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport – which is wholly-owned and managed by Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd – and met Turkish businessmen and representatives of industries as well as the Malaysian diaspora. —Bernama
We're sorry, this article is unavailable at the moment. If you wish to read this article, kindly contact our Customer Service team at 1-300-88-7827. Thank you for your patience - we're bringing you a new and improved experience soon!