Turkey to boost planting industrial hemp

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said Turkey will cultivate industrial hemp and the necessary talks were already held with Agriculture and Forestry Ministry and Environment and Urbanization Ministry regarding the works to be launched.

“I am calling out to my nation; let’s start the process to cultivate industrial hemp. We will see that industrial hemp has many different benefits in many different areas,” said Erdoğanon Jan. 13 while speaking at a meeting of BMC, a privately owned Turkish-Qatari armored vehicles manufacturer, in the northwestern province of Sakarya.

The cultivation of hemp is currently allowed in 19 regions in Turkey. Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli on Jan. 10 said that the government will issue permit to new places for hemp production.

Hemp is used as a raw material in thousands of industrial products but the infrastructure to make this a valuable market has not been developed in Turkey.

Erdoğan on Jan. 13 also said that an investment amounting to 500 million dollars will be made for a new factory of BMC, and the new investment will provide employment for 10,000 people once its all phases are completed.

“We expect this facility to provide an added value of 5 billion dollars annually to our country. Apart from our own needs, we plan to export about 1 billion dollars [worth of products of the new factory] to different countries, especially Qatar,” he said.

Erdoğan stressed on the importance of cooperation between Qatar and Turkey and said this cooperation will continue to strengthen in various sectors from defense to tourism, trade and energy.

“This cooperation is indeed an exemplary step towards the future based on the win-win principle of both countries. From now on, Turkey and Qatar cooperation will continue to strengthen,” he said.

“We have never forgotten and will never forget the solidarity shown to our country by our Qatari brothers on nearly all issues — from the July 15 coup attempt to the attacks in August on [our] exchange rates [Turkish lira],” the president said.

Erdoğan also emphasized the importance of “self-sufficiency” in defense industry during his speech.

“We are a nation which suffered much from foreign dependence in weapon ammunition and military supplies in our recent history. Turkey has to reach a level in which it is not only self-sufficient but it can also satisfy the needs of its allies in critical areas, especially defense industry,” he said.

“Today, private defense companies are exporting armored vehicles, air defense systems, missile systems, simulators, coast guard vessels, communication and command systems and software systems,” he said.

The president also recalled the agreement on the sale of six unmanned aerial vehicles to Ukraine signed on Jan. 12.

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