A Turkish team departed for Antarctica on Tuesday to set up a temporary national base for scientific research.
Before the departure of the 25-member team, including 17 Turkish and eight foreign participants, a farewell ceremony was held at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul.
Istanbul’s Governor Ali Yerlikaya, Metropolitan Municipality Mayor Mevlut Uysal and relatives of team members bid farewell to the group.
“Our team have stayed in the temporary bases for 30-40 days since three years. They conduct successful works on the temporary base they established and return to our country,” Yerlikaya said.
“I hope this year’s visit will pave the way for a permanent base [in Antarctica].”
For his part, Uysal pointed out that the team will carry out research in a freezing temperature.
“I believe that the scientific research they will carry out there will inspire other scientific studies in our country. I wish success to the outgoing team,” Uysal said.
Prior to their departure, the team leader Burcu Ozsoy said they will conduct 13 scientific projects on the nature of the continent and the climate change.
Anadolu Agency will cover the scientific studies in the frozen continent with the group of three journalists, economy correspondent Dilara Zengin, photojournalist Ozge Elif Kizil and cameraman Servet Ulku.
This year’s project — supported by the Turkish Presidency, Ministry of Industry and Technology, and Istanbul Technical University Polar Research Center as well as eight other Turkish universities — will carry out scientific studies over 30 days.
Two automatic meteorological monitoring stations produced in Turkey will also be set up by the country’s directorate general of meteorology to receive data for two years.
Sahika Ercumen, an internationally renowned Turkish diver, also joined the expedition team.
She will be the first Turkish woman to dive without air tanks in Antarctica on a journey, she announced earlier this month.
Antarctica, the coldest continent on earth, has served as a scientific research zone since a 1959 treaty. Turkey, which currently holds an observer status desires to have consultative status on the continent.
The lowest temperature recorded on the coldest continent in 1983 was at -89 degrees Celsius (-128 Fahrenheit). The temperatures reach up to -15 degrees Celsius (5 Fahrenheit) in the summer.
Turkey’s first Istanbul Technical University Polar Research Center was founded in Antarctica in 2015.
The mission of the center is to carry out research on Antarctica and raise Turkey’s profile in the international scientific community.
In April 2016, the first-ever Turkish team of researchers — 14 medics, botanists, geologists and oceanographers from seven universities — traveled to Antarctica to study the impact of climate change.