By Emre Gurkan Abay
MOSCOW (AA) – Russia is happy to play a role in Turkey's space endeavors, the director-general of the Russian space agency (Roscosmos) said on Wednesday.
Dmitry Rogozin told Anadolu Agency that Russia would be pleased to seize upon all opportunities to "join in the space-related initiatives of our important southern neighbor and partner Turkey."
"We always try to hold meetings with our Turkish colleagues as part of various events. The experiences we've gained in our interactions with our Turkish colleagues confirm that Russia and Turkey have important and long-term common interests in the field of space activities."
Noting that Moscow and Ankara have agreed to work together in their peaceful space-related activities, Rogozin said the two countries had determined the legal framework that would serve as the basis for this cooperation.
Rogozin also underlined that Turkey's aviation industry has enough "competent and qualified experts" to prepare and implement their Moon mission that the country plans to carry out within the coming years, he said.
Russia is ready to start consultations for the "training of Turkish cosmonauts and preparation of a manned space project," he said, adding: "Discussing all the nuances of a manned mission with our foreign partners is always a very long and careful matter.
Citing the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that Turkey has developed in recent years, Rogozin praised the work of the Turkish defense industry and Turkish engineers.
Turkey unveiled its national space program on Feb. 9 and outlined the country's 10-year vision, strategies, objectives, and projects on space policy.
The primary goal of the program, developed by the Turkey Space Agency (TUA), will be to make first contact with the Moon in 2023, the centennial year of the Turkish republic.
*Writing by Yunus Girgin in Ankara