World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey has introduced its first indigenous main battle tank (MBT) Altay on Thursday in Sakarya, western province of Turkey.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at the ceremony that Turkey became one of the few countries that could design and produce MBTs and thanked Turkish Defense Ministry, Turkish General Staff, Undersecretariat for Defense Industry, Otokar and all related offices for making Turkey proud.
He said Altay project would contribute to the prestige of Turkey and carry Turkey forward in the world defense league.
Saying that all the facilitation and talents within the country were used for the project, Erdogan underlined that with Altay, Turkey not only produced a MBT but also invested in the future of defense industry.
The debut ceremony was hold at the contractor firm Otokar's facilities. Erdogan was briefed about Altay and rode on a battle vehicle "Kaya" along with chief of General Staff Necdet Ozel before the ceremony.
Named in honor of Army General Fahrettin Altay (1880-1974) who commanded the 5th Cavalry Corps in the final stage of the Turkish War of Independence, Altay's design and intellectual property rights will all belong to Turkey.
The project was initiated with an agreement signed between Otokar and Undersecretariat for Defense Industries of the Republic of Turkey on March 2007, when the Defense Industries Executive Committee awarded a contract worth approximately $500 million to Otokar for the design, development and production of 4 prototypes of a national main battle tank.