Anadolu Agency / MOSCOW

Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) President Dmitriy Rogozin said Turkey has everything necessary to be included in the “space powers” shortlist. He told Anadolu Agency “We have great respect for Turkey’s interest in space. We will be happy if Turkey defines Russia as a strategic partner in this field. We await Turkey’s astronauts.”

In an interview Rogozin spoke about the “sending a Turkish astronaut to space” offer he made to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as well as the cooperation potential Russia and Turkey have in space and defense industries.

Describing Turkey as a “big, modern country which protects its interest in various regions around the world with different alliances in the West and the East”, Rogozin said “Therefore it’s not surprising to see Ankara realize its interests in space. This is a perfectly natural process. Right now we observe countries like China and India acting fast to join the “space powers club”.

Rogozin also talked about Russia’s global leadership in sending humans to space, adding “Our spaceships brought international crews to the International Space Station (ISS) and continue to do so. We are now preparing to expand the station’s working areas. We will be sending new modules in upcoming years to increase the working and living spaces of the Russian team at ISS. We also believe that this expansion also provides additional opportunities for leading countries who want to develop their space programs”.

Talking about the many Muslim countries that are interested in sending cosmonauts to space, Rogozin stated “A question constantly comes to mind; ‘Why is there no Turkish astronaut yet?’. Therefore our offer to send a Turk to space is very natural. We would like to see Turkish pilots and experts at the Cosmonaut Training Center. We can swiftly train both the astronaut and their assistant and have them ready to go to ISS in a few years”.