Selcuk Bayraktar at the Technovest Technology Fair in Istanbul in April 2023 (Reuters)
A Turkish engineer, researcher and inventor who led his country's superiority in the field of drone technology, he was born in 1979. Some describe him as the "father of Turkish marches" and liken him to Syrian-American inventor Steve Jobs, who has become a role model for many young tech-savvy people around the world.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was married to his daughter Sumaya in 2016 and received several decorations and honors for the important role played in many conflict areas by the drones he made.
Birth and upbringing
Selçuk Özdemir Bayraktar was born on October 7, 1979 in Istanbul to a rich conservative family, his father is the politician and businessman Özdemir Bayraktar, who practiced politics alongside Erdogan during the nineties of the twentieth century, and is the owner of the technical company "Baykar" specialized in the manufacture of unmanned aerial vehicles.
His mother, Canan Bayraktar, is a programmer at the Bank of Turkish Industries, and she worked with her husband in the family business, which created a passion for her son Selcuk and his brothers Haluk and Ahmed about the world of aircraft and the way they work and manufacture.
Bayraktar with his wife Sumayya Erdoğan (French)
Study and scientific training
He began his education at Sariyer Primary School in his hometown, then moved to the American School "Robert" in Istanbul, completing preparatory and secondary stages, graduating in 1997.
He joined the Faculty of Electronic and Communication Engineering at Istanbul Technical University, and during his university studies, he applied for training at the University of Pennsylvania, in which he found a golden opportunity that opened new horizons for him, and gave him advanced skills that enabled him to achieve his dream and develop his father's company "Baykar".
He returned to Turkey after the end of the training period, during which he was able to convince the university administration to provide him with a full scholarship to study a master's degree in the Department of Drone Development after graduating from a bachelor's degree, which he did between 2002 and 2004.
After excelling in his master's degree, he was able to obtain another scholarship to study a second master's degree with a scholarship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on drone control.
During this period, he worked as an assistant to Professors Georges Pappas and Eric Veron, two professors of electrical and computer engineering at the Institute, which enabled him to conduct scientific research on the world's first group flight experiments, and control and guidance systems for flight.
After completing his education in 2007, he returned to Turkey, where he became the technical director of Baykar until he took over the management of its board in 2021.
He was interested in various areas in the development of drones developed in Turkey, such as flight control, flight systems engineering, development of navigation algorithms, dynamics and movement of systems, development of embedded software and electronic devices.
Bayraktar founded and chaired the Turkey Technology Team Association in 2017, with the aim of encouraging young people and those who are enthusiastic about development in various fields of technology to carry out in-depth research in cooperation with the association.
He designed a Bayraktar TP2 drone guidance and control system that has been used in conflicts such as the Turkish conflict with the PKK, the war in Syria, and the Libyan war.
He was also able to design the Bayraktar Mini, the first drone to be included in the Turkish army's arsenal, and then developed the Bayraktar Akinci system, which is the first unmanned attack system in the country, and handed it over to the armed forces on August 29, 2021.
Bayraktar succeeded in putting an important imprint in one of the most important signs of Turkey's increasing superiority in the technology of drones, the "Qizel Elma" or "Red Apple", which succeeded in carrying out its first sorties in 2023 and was characterized by its ability to fly at an altitude of 35,1224 feet, and its top speed exceeding 1 kilometers / hour, and it can carry 5.5 tons of missiles and ammunition, and its flight time is up to <> hours.
He supervised the organization of the "Technovest" Space Technology Festival on April 27, 2023, which is the largest in the world for aviation, space and technology, and is an important means in Turkey to discover the talents of young participants to showcase their technological innovations such as rockets and robotics, with the support of government institutions.
Honors and patents
Due to the significant role played by Bayraktar TB2 drones in the Nagorno-Karabakh war, Bayraktar was awarded the Karabakh National Order by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on April 2021, <>.
On October 2, 2022, he received the International Order of Merit from President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine for the important role Turkish drones played in the Russian-Ukrainian war.
Bayraktar received the Supreme National Order of Mali from its President on October 18, 2023, in recognition of the contributions and services he has provided to this country in the technological field.
He also obtained 4 patents from the Turkish Patent Institute in 2015 in the automatic landing and take-off system for aircraft, a control system that can detect changes in working conditions, a 3-point flight control system with backup points, and an echo measuring device.
Bayraktar's name emerged during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic when he announced, through his personal Twitter account on March 22, 2020, that he would provide technical support for the production of 5,<> ventilators in Turkey in cooperation with other companies, which he implemented a month after the date of announcing the initiative.
He also rushed to provide financial support estimated at 650 million Turkish liras during the first four days of the devastating Kahramanmaraş earthquake that struck the south of the country and northern Syria on February 6, 2023.
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