China will launch Turkey’s first intelligence satellite, Göktürk-2, for $20 million since Turkey lacks the required technology to launch the satellite. Göktürk-2, which will be capable of detecting the movements of objects smaller than even one square meter, will help capture terrorists infiltrating Turkish borders.
The optical camera for the satellite has been bought from South Korea, while all the other parts have been produced and manufactured in Turkey. Göktürk-2 is expected to be launched in December or in early 2012.
The Göktürk-2 satellite will also be used for monitoring civilian activities such as control of forestland, tracking illegal construction, rapid assessment of damage after natural disasters, determination of agricultural boundaries and geographical data gathering. The project also aims to furnish national industries with the capability to design and integrate satellite systems and run tests on them here in Turkey.
Turkish defense industry companies and research centers Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), Aselsan, the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) and Turksat will participate in all phases of the project. The project consists of the construction of an electro-optic satellite system that will be put into orbit, a fixed land station and a mobile land station.
Gokturk-1, a higher resolution version of the satellite using a more advanced bus and different frame, is currently under construction by a consortium of Telespazio and Thales-Alenia. Planned for launch in 2013, Gokturk-1 will be capable of providing imagery at a resolution of 30cm.
According to rumors circulating around Turkish defence spheres, Israel actively tries using diplomatic pressure to block the launch of Göktürk-2, fearing that Turkey will be able to monitor Israel’s territory. However, no international legal remedy is available to Israel to limit the operations of Gokturk satellites at this time.
“You’ve been monitoring us [Turkish terriotory] for years.” Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said in a press conference, referring to the unreasonable request of Israeli authorities.
“No compromise is expected to be reached with Israel regarding this matter,” a Turkish official told TR Defence at the IDEF international defence industry fair.
Industrial defence cooperation between Turkey and China goes back at least two decades. Turkey has acquired a number artillery rockets from China and codeveloped short-range ballistic missiles.