Malaysia looking into defence cooperation with Turkey, says Dr M

Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali at the hi-tea event with Malaysians in Istanbul, Turkey, on Friday. (Bernama pic.)

ISTANBUL: Malaysia is considering defence cooperation with Turkey in an effort to manufacture its own military products, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

He said the effort, however, would take some time and needed a lot of money to be realised.

“Not many countries are willing to transfer their technologies to us, but Turkey has promised to provide all that we need in terms of manufacturing technology. They are prepared to give their cooperation,” he told Malaysians here at a hi-tea event on Friday.

Mahathir, who is on a four-day visit to Turkey at the invitation of President Recep Tayyib Erdogan, said such cooperation in the defence industry was inevitably necessary.

“We are an independent sovereign nation but in order to defend our country’s independence, we have to get appropriate weapons from other countries.

“If they, the foreigners, refuse to give us the weapons, we cannot defend the independence of our country.

“It’s not that we want to go to war, it’s just that we need to have the capability to defend our country. If we are still depending on others, it means that we are not fully independent,” he said.

He said even to build an aircraft, a country would need a technology transfer.

“One of the approaches is by collaborating with other countries. When we want to produce our first national car, we collaborated with Japan.

“Today, we no longer depend on Japan because we have obtained the technology and the expertise to produce our own cars,” he said.