Erdoğan says Turkey 3rd in world in developing local vaccines
Turkey has become the third country after the US and China to locally develop a vaccine against COVID-19, according to World Health Organization (WHO) data, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Aug. 9.
Speaking at the opening of TÜBİTAK (Turkey's Scientific and Technological Research Council) Excellence Centers in Gebze district in northwestern Kocaeli province, Erdoğan said Turkey has made great progress in developing vaccines and drugs against COVID-19 in collaboration with state and private sectors and universities.
"The COVID-19 Turkey Platform, founded by TÜBİTAK, is currently working on eight different vaccines and 10 different medicine projects [for COVID-19]," he added.
Trials on animals for two candidate vaccines have been completed. One of them even received ethical clearance and started its clinical phase on humans, the president further said.
'External dependence in industry drops considerably'
While Turkey continues its fight against terrorism threats and COVID-19, it also endeavors to grow and make progress, said Erdoğan.
"Our country's technological infrastructure has become stronger with the contributions of TÜBİTAK's research centers and institutes.
"In terms of national security, being dependent on external sources in the industry is as serious as political dependence. Turkey has suffered from this for a long time," he added.
"Today, Turkey's external dependence in the defense industry has dropped to 30% from 70%," Erdoğan noted.
While insecurities all around the world have risen and investments have taken a hit, Turkey has continued its openings, he added.
"We are hoping to make Turkey one of the leader countries of the 21st century," stressed Erdoğan.
TÜBİTAK compound to be country's innovation base
TÜBİTAK's compound will serve as an innovation and R &D base for Turkey, said Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Varank said: "We have set concrete targets in this process leading to [the year] 2023.
"We will raise the shares of export industries in national income 21%, of R &D expenditures 1.8%, and the number of researchers working in these fields to at least 200,000.
He added: "Every step in value-added production, innovation, and entrepreneurship has a much higher impact compared to the pre-pandemic period."
"So we can see that this period offers immense opportunities for our country's sustainable economic development and rise in social welfare."
TÜBİTAK's compound includes the Institute of Railway Technologies Motor Excellence Center, Marmara Research Center's National Energetics Synthesis and Characterization Laboratory, Biomechanics, Bioelectronics Excellence Center, Center for Research, Development, and Maintenance of High Temperature Materials, the National Metrology Institute's Photovoltaic Performance Test Center and the Defense Industries Research and Development Institute's Environmental Tests and R &D centers.
Medical aid sent to 150 countries
In the meantime, Erdoğan said that Turkey has sent medical aid to over 150 countries and six international organizations
"The value of our health investments is better noticed now in the pandemic process," the president said, speaking at the opening ceremony of health and research centers in Kocaeli University, in Turkey's northwestern Kocaeli province.
Turkey has brought over 90,000 Turkish citizens from abroad back to the country by land, air, and sea in this difficult process, he added.
Also speaking at the ceremony, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said Turkey's fight against the pandemic is continuing, and that normalization should not mean an end to this fight.