Turkey does not act with expansionist mindset: Erdoğan
“Having a strong navy is more than a choice for our country. We have to be strong not only economically and politically, but also in the field of military and defense,” he said.
“Our Navy makes us proud with their experience, discipline, qualified personnel and the success they have achieved in the tasks they undertake,” he said, noting that Turkey is testing its “domestic and national” weapon systems.
The Turkish president said attempts have been made to usurp the rights of the Turkish nation and Turkish Cypriots in the eastern Mediterranean.
“We are obliged to protect the rights of our friends in every corner of our region, especially our citizens and Turkish Cypriots,” he said, adding that because they know that in the “slightest stumbling, even the slightest weakness,” foreign circles will target the country.
Ankara last year sent several drill ships to explore for energy in the eastern Mediterranean, asserting its rights in the region, as well as those of Turkish Cyprus.
“The events we have experienced recently in the context of Syria, Iraq, the Aegean and the eastern Mediterranean have once again reminded us of this fact,” he emphasized.
He recalled that Turkey carried out the actual phase of the training exercise in the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean in accordance with international law.
Pointing out that Turkey is a country surrounded by sea on three sides, the president said, “Throughout history, we see that our nation gave importance to sea power in order to preserve its survival in this difficult geography.”
“We have exported more than 130 naval platforms, the cost of which is over $3 billion, all produced in our shipyards,” he said, adding that Turkey is among 10 countries that can design, build and maintain their own warships.
“As in all areas, we are adamant on making Turkey a superpower in the naval world,” he added.
Touching on Turkey’s defense exports, he said they increased from $248 million to $3 billion.
“The capability of our military shipbuilding industry is now known around the world,” he added. Turkey has become a country that meets its needs along with friendly and allied countries in the field of land and sea vehicles and has taken its place among 10 countries that can design, build and maintain their own warship, Erdoğan said.
Turkey is “one of the best three-four countries in the world on the issue of drones,” he stated.
“We have exported more than 130 naval platforms with a cost of over 3 billion dollars produced in our shipyards so far,” the president said and added, “While we are taking all these steps, we certainly did not act with an expansionist, interventionist mindset, and we do not.”