The national flags of Turkey and Azerbaijan, as well as attack helicopters and planes, flew over Baku on Thursday as throngs of visitors flocked to Teknofest Azerbaijan, the first foreign edition of the leading Turkish aviation, space and technology festival.
Aviation and tech enthusiasts took to the festival areas in Azerbaijan’s capital to examine the latest homegrown technology and civil and military aviation technologies, and witness a range of activities, from air shows with warplanes, to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and helicopters, to summits , competitions and fairs.
First held in 2018, Teknofest kicked off on Thursday and will last through Sunday.
The expansion of the event to neighboring Azerbaijan marks the latest show of close links between the two nations and their determination to strengthen partnerships and develop advanced technologies.
Last year saw Azerbaijan take part in the festival for the first time with 11 local companies and startups.
Selçuk Bayraktar, the chair of the event’s organizer, the Turkish Technology Team Foundation (T3 Foundation), said the enthusiasm of Teknofest can be felt everywhere in Azerbaijan, adding that he expects all Azerbaijani “brothers and sisters” in the event.
Also the chief technology officer of the Turkish Baykar drone magnate, Bayraktar told reporters that they decided to organize Teknofest in Azerbaijan to strengthen the cooperation between Ankara and Baku and develop critical technologies.
Teknofest has been held in various Turkish cities in even years and in the metropolis of Istanbul in odd years.
The event will feature 10 technology competitions in different fields such as rockets, agriculture, and unmanned aerial vehicles.
At the Baku event, companies and entrepreneurs are set to showcase their products and technical solutions.
On the entertainment side, the festival includes aerobatic flight shows from the Azerbaijani Air Force, the Turkish Air Force Turkish Stars and Solo Türk, a vertical wind tunnel, water attractions, flight simulators and robots.
‘Champions of Technology’
Bayraktar underlined that the “champions of technology” will be given their awards on Saturday by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev.
“Our nation’s pride, Nobel Prize-winning scientist Aziz Sancar, attended Teknofest in Turkey, gave our students their awards, and also gave them good advice,” he noted.
“He didn’t grind us down again. He will come to Azerbaijan and will give awards to our students.”
Bayraktar also stressed that Teknofest is a paradigm-transforming event.
“We organized Teknofest in Turkey with the motto ‘let a child come, touch an airplane, maybe that child will work in our country’s space program in the future.’ In Azerbaijan we say ‘let a child come, touch an airplane, maybe it will take our countries to space,’” he said.
“We should attach importance to technology development so that our country can be independent and prosperous in these areas.”
He stressed that Teknofest is an event to “instill self-confidence” in people to develop high technology.
Some 5,000 competitors in a total of 1,000 teams applied to the competitions organized as part of the event, while over 250 of the 1,000 teams that applied made it to the finals.
A total of 32 countries, including Germany, the US, Ireland, Pakistan, Egypt, Argentina, Turkey, Azerbaijan and other European countries, attended the Take Off Baku, an initiative summit held in Baku Crystal Hall as part of Teknofest Azerbaijan.