Turkey's first 'flying car' tested by defence company Baykar

Turkish defence company Baykar has begun testing a flying vehicle aimed at a future domestic air travel market.

Turkey has faced well-publicised struggles in its attempt to produce a domestically made car in recent decades. However, progress on the car seems to be being made by TOGG (Turkey's Automobile Joint Venture Group Inc), with a new factory being opened in Bursa in June to produce Turkey’s first domestic car.

On Tuesday, Daily Sabah reported that Baykar had test flown its autonomous flying car, but only for a short flight and around 10 metres in the air. The car reportedly weighs 230 kilograms and can carry one passenger, but future models are planned to carry more people.

The flying car is known as the Cezeri, which “is named after Ismail al-Jazari, one of the great Muslim inventors and engineers of the Islamic Golden Age, who lived in eastern Anatollia during the 12th century”, according to Daily Sabah.

Anadolu Agency showed a promotional video of the flying car which showed the vehicle hovering in the air as it was being tested.

Baykar Technologies have previously produced Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), also referred to as drones, for the Turkish military. The Bayraktar Tactical UAS, produced by Baykar held the national record for longest UAV flight in 2014.

The Bayraktar Tactical UAS has been used in conflicts in Libya, Syria and Iraq, where it was used to kill a senior Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader in 2018.

Selçuk Bayraktar, Chief Technology Officer of Baykar, said it would take 10 to 15 years before the car was ready to go to market. 

Bayraktar is married to Sümeyye Erdoğan, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s youngest daughter. The couple married in Istanbul in 2016, with a wedding attended by 6000 guests. Sümeyye Erdoğan has acted as an advisor to Erdoğan while he was Prime Minister and is currently Vice-President of KADEM, the Women and Democracy Association, which was involved in the process that led to the signing of the Istanbul Convention on Violence Against Women in 2011. KADEM opposes the idea, supported by some AKP politicians, that Turkey should now leave the convention. 

In August, website Carscoops looked at the Cezeri, saying that the car “isn’t really a flying car and instead a vertical take-off and landing craft with seating for one occupant”.