Acting on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s directives for the production of long-range missile with 2500km (1553 miles) range, Turkey’s Defense Industry Executive Committee has formally announced its decision to commence design and production work for an ICBM.
According to Turkish NTV and Zaman news agencies, sources in the Ministry of Defense have indicated that industry agencies had been discussing the feasibility of establishing a satellite launch center in Turkey for some time, and production of an ICBM is, therefore, considered to be the next step from after that main goal. The main players in this project are the Ministry of Defense, the Undersecretariat of Defense Industries, and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK).
The first phase of the project was completed with production and successful recent test of a 300km (186 miles) range SOM cruise missile. The second phase will extend the range of SOM to 1500km and later phases will extend it to 2500km.
However, a quote from a senior official from the Ministry of Defense showed that the real intention of this project is military: “The Defence Industry Executive Committee has decided to initiate the satellite launch center project on July 17. This project aims to provide Turkey with the capability to launch its own satellites. However the real intention is different. Once you can launch a satellite into space, you are close to producing an ICBM. First, we will aim to achieve successful satellite launching capability and then work on the process, which begins after.”
It is also reported that Turkey may work with “an Eastern European country” on this project.