“Our goal is to be totally self-sufficient by 2023,” he said.

Noting that building an amphibious assault ship was the first step on the road towards building the world’s best aircraft carrier, Erdogan underlined Turkey’s need to have a more active presence outside its borders.

"Actually, I see this as a belated step taken at a time when threats against Turkey are increasing, and also at a time when we need to be more visible in the international arena."

Erdogan went on to criticize some NATO countries –without giving names – for refusing to sell weapons to Turkey using the conflicts in the eastern and southeastern regions of the country “as an excuse.”

“These are NATO allies, let me tell you. When there are ongoing threats against Turkey due to the crisis in Syria, these countries supply terrorist groups with arms, but unfortunately fail to support their friend, Turkey.

“Then they tell me not to talk about this issue in front of the media. OK. But why are you sending those weapons to terrorist groups? Therefore, we have to be self-sufficient,” he said.

Anadolu Agency