Türkiye gears up for the local elections; Meeting between President Erdoğan and American Senators; Domestically produced fighter jet KAAN takes to the sky

Türkiye gears up for the local elections; Meeting between President Erdoğan and American Senators; Domestically produced fighter jet KAAN takes to the sky

In Türkiye, local election campaigns are at the top of the agenda.

Another agenda was the hosting of American Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Chris Murphy by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The first flight of the domestically produced 5th generation fighter jet has brought great joy in Turkish people.

Türkiye gears up for the local elections

Türkiye will hold local elections on March 31. In addition to 35 political parties, independent candidates will also be competing in the elections.

Political parties have submitted their candidate lists for mayoral positions, municipal council and provincial general assembly memberships to the election boards. The final list of candidates will be revealed on March 3.

The upcoming elections are expected to witness a fierce competition, particularly in Istanbul.

In the capital city, Ankara, a total of 25 applications have been submitted for the candidacy of the Mayor of Ankara Metropolitan Municipality, with 19 candidates from political parties and 6 independent candidates. The ruling party Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) candidate for Ankara is Turgut Altınok, while the main opposition party Republican People’s Party (CHP) nominated the incumbent Mayor Mansur Yavaş. Many researchers say that Mansur Yavaş is in the lead and likely to win in the election. Good Party’s candidate is Cengiz Topel and Utku Reyhan is the candidate from the Vatan Party.

In Izmir, the third-largest city of the country considered a decade-long stronghold of the main opposition party CHP, the Party nominated Cemil Tugay to replace the incumbent mayor Tunç Soyer, while the AKP has nominated Hamza Dağ. The Good Party has Ümit Özlale and the Vatan Party Serhan Bolluk as candidate.

One of the remarkable things about the election in Izmir is that the AKP candidate ran his campaign without using the party logo. This is interpreted as a result of the AKP’s bad reputation in Izmir.

Another closely followed district is Hatay, one of the main centers of earthquake disaster on 6 February 2023. CHP nominated the current mayor Lütfü Savaş, while AKP has nominated Mehmet Öntürk. The nomination of Lütfü Savaş has been harshly criticized by many CHP members and opponents on the grounds of his involvement in the earthquake disaster and the fact that he has not been acquitted in related ongoing lawsuits.

In Istanbul, the local election competition includes the current Mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu from CHP, Murat Kurum from AKP, Buğra Kavuncu from IYI Party, and Ibrahim Okan Özkan from the Vatan Party, along with candidates from other parties and independent candidates. The results of the election in Istanbul are seen the most crucial for the near future of the parties.

Almost every research shows that the vote rates of the current Mayor Ekrem Imamoğlu and Murat Kurum, the two candidates expected to receive the most votes, are very close to each other.

In many districts, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), part of the ruling People’s Alliance, announced its support for AKP candidates in the elections.

Two main opposition parties CHP and Good Party, which had participated the last general and presidential elections on 14-28 May 2023 as Nation Alliance, are not in alliance anymore for the local elections. There are now sharp disputes between the leaders of the two parties.

Meeting between President Erdoğan and American Senators

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held a meeting with US Senator Jeanne Shaheen at the Presidential Complex, accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Hakan Fidan.

While detailed information about the meeting was not disclosed, a statement from the social media account of Presidency wrote “Our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan welcomed US Senator Jeanne Shaheen at the Presidential Complex.”

Jeanne Shaheen is known for her activities in the region, including countries in the Black Sea.

The following information about Shaheen’s activities is available on her personal website:

“Shaheen has led bipartisan Congressional delegations to the NATO Summits in Vilnius 2023 and Madrid 2022. Last year, Shaheen and U.S. Senator Peter Welch (D-VT) traveled to the Western Balkans to engage with partners amid continued Russian Interference and to convey support for their Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Shaheen has traveled to the Western Balkans to serve as an election monitor for the Bosnia and Herzegovina elections, which followed a separate trip to the region with both Senators Murphy and Tillis.  Shaheen leads bipartisan efforts in the Senate in support of the transatlantic Alliance as Sweden seeks accession into NATO. Shaheen and Tillis recently applauded Türkiye’s Parliament’s ratification of Sweden’s NATO accession protocols and have urged Hungary to do the same. Last year, Shaheen and Tillis met with the Turkish delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly to commend Türkiye’s contributions to NATO’s and European security. Earlier this month, Shaheen and Tillis, Co-Chairs of the U.S. Senate NATO Observer Group, issued a joint statement calling on Hungary to immediately approve NATO accession protocols for Sweden.”

Domestically-produced fighter jet KAAN takes to the sky

Türkiye’s domestically produced defense and aviation project, the National Combat Aircraft (MMU) KAAN, took to the sky.

On February 21, KAAN took off from the Mürted Airfield Command in Ankara and successfully completed its first flight in the skies over Ankara. Piloted by test pilot Barbaros Demirbaş, KAAN was greeted with applause by the personnel involved in its production and development after the 11-minute maiden flight.

President Erdoğan, said the followings on KAAN: “We experienced one of the proud days of the Turkish defense industry. Our homegrown combat aircraft KAAN successfully completed its maiden flight today. Türkiye crossed another critical threshold in producing a fifth-generation fighter jet.”

President of Defense Industry Haluk Görgün stated: “We have engraved in our history another development that will be one of the milestones of our President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s domestic and national vision in the defense industry. With KAAN, our country will not only have a fifth generation fighter jet, but also technologies that few countries in the world have.”

Fahrettin Altun, Presidency’s Director of Communications, wrote:

“We are incredibly proud of our country’s advancements in the defense sector thanks to the ingenuity and hard work of our military planners, engineers, programmers and other staff at Turkish companies. … As we march forward in our quest to be a force for peace and stability in our troubled region, we must continue to give our national defense industry the resources they need to succeed. Being prepared for any eventuality is a geopolitical necessity for a country like ours.”

KAAN has a wingspan of 14 meters, a height of 6 meters, and a length of 21 meters. The cockpit is designed for a single pilot. Noteworthy features of KAAN include its dual engines, high maneuverability, low radar visibility, ability to carry internal weapons, and electronic warfare capabilities.

KAAN stands out as a platform with the capability to collaborate with unmanned aerial vehicles, airborne surveillance and control platforms, and other elements planned for procurement. It is equipped for air-to-air combat with next-generation weapons, capable of precision strikes from internal weapon bays at supersonic speeds. Additionally, KAAN enhances combat power through artificial intelligence and neural network support.

Türkiye’s KAAN aircraft has also made widespread echo in the world, being covered by media outlets in countries.

United World International

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April 2024