Syria’s first cosmonaut Muhammed Ahmad Faris, who has been living in Turkey for the past five years, aims to share his experiences with young people in the country.
“I want to share my experiences here and be useful to people,” Faris told Anadolu Agency Tuesday.
“This generation needs to focus on space,” said Faris. “Turkey has science and research centers, and I hope it will reach a better level in this area.”
Faris said he received invitations from other countries, including Russia, to carry out scientific work but he calls Turkey his second homeland.
“The breath I take here is the same breath I take in Syria,” he said.
Faris was among three cosmonauts sent to space on the Russian spacecraft Soyuz TM-3 in 1987.
He was the first Syrian and second Arab in space, where he spent seven days, 23 hours and eight minutes.
Upon his return in 1987, he was given the title “Hero of the Soviet Union” and was awarded with the “Medal of Lenin.”
After Faris spoke out against Assad’s policies, the regime renamed the streets bearing the national hero’s name. Faris fled with his wife and three children to Istanbul in 2012.
Turkish artist Halil Altındere featured Faris in the solo show “Welcome to Homeland” this month at the historic Sadık Pasha Mansion in Istanbul’s Cihangir neighborhoor.
According to official statistics, Turkey currently hosts more than 3.4 million Syrians who have fled since the beginning of the civil war.
Ankara calculates it has spent at least $30 billion sheltering and providing for these guests.
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