Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan greeted Alper Gezeravci with a hero’s welcome upon his return from a private three-week mission to the International Space Station. Children gathered at Ankara’s Esenboga Airport to greet him, and in return, he handed out Turkish flags that he had taken with him into space. The mission was seen as a source of national pride and a highlight of technological advancement, especially in the field of aerospace and military development.
Industry and Technology Minister Mehmet Fatih Kacir said that the space mission was the first but would not be the last, indicating that Turkey has opened a new page in space science and technologies. The country established its own space agency in 2018 with plans to land on the moon by 2026. The crew returned in a SpaceX capsule that parachuted into the Atlantic off the Florida coast on Friday after conducting science experiments in space and chatting with schoolchildren and officials from their countries. Overall, the mission is a symbol of progress and technological advancement for Turkey.