ANKARA (Sputnik) — In 1996, Turkey officially launched the MILGEM project, aimed at building locally-made modern combat warships, using the country's own resources and capabilities. At the moment four corvettes are completed, while 12 more are being planned.
"We have completely finished the implementation of 14 naval vessel projects, another 10 [projects] will follow. We will also build our own aircraft carrier. We have firm resolve to do it and do not doubt the [project's] success. We have to make Turkey one of the leaders in military shipbuilding, and our [own] aircraft carrier is not a distant dream for us anymore," Erdogan said at a ceremony of the launch of Kinaliada, the fourth corvette built under Turkey's MILGEM warship program.
He noted that it was vitally important for Turkey to reach technological independence from other countries.
"This vessel [Kinaliada] will reinforce us in the sea. The need for technological independence is increasing every year. Even if we cover a number of urgent needs by supplies from abroad, we still should base [the majority of production] on the national capacities. The corvette is designed completely in Turkey, and 65 percent of its production is based on the national technologies," Erdogan said.
He added that by 2023, when Turkey would celebrate the centenary of the republic, his country's dependence on defense production imports should be eliminated.