Selçuk Bayraktar: The Genius of the UCAVs and The Godfather of Turkish Drones

Mümin Ahmedoğlu
4 min readSep 5, 2021

The Turkish Selçuk Bayraktar shone on behalf of his country globally after delivering his combat UAV (AKINCI) to the Turkish army on August 2021, unveiling the difficult journey that culminated in the production of the first locally designed and manufactured (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle).

Many questions were raised about Bayraktar (42 years old), who was described by international media as “The Godfather of The UCAV” and “The Genius of The Drones” and became the talk of the platforms and considered by many to be a source of inspiration and interest.

Who is Selçuk and what is his story?

Selçuk Bayraktar has been the Technical Director of Baykar Defense Industries since 2007 and he was 28 years old at the time, he is also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the T3 Foundation, and the chief engineer for the design and operation of the first domestic unmanned aircraft systems (UAVs) in Turkey. He also has a private pilot license.

Bayraktar has been married to Somayya, the daughter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, since May 2016.

Born in Sariyer district of Istanbul in 1979, Selcuk graduated from Robert College in 1997, then pursued his university education in the Department of Electronics and Communications Engineering at Istanbul Technical University (ITU).

While at ITU, he was awarded a scholarship from the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) where he obtained his master’s degree in 2004, in the meantime he received a second scholarship from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a research assistant in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics where he completed Then a second master’s degree in 2006.

Since 2003, Selcuk has conducted studies that have been the talk of journals and the scientific community about the experimental flight of unmanned aircraft, coordinating air-ground robotic teams, and at MIT he conducted studies in the field of automated flight control algorithms that will give unmanned helicopter systems the ability to perform maneuvers.

He returned to Turkey in 2007 and has since worked as a technology executive at Baykar, which developed the…

Mümin Ahmedoğlu

Writing about Defence and Technology | Autonomous Systems | Technology Policy | Project Management | Economics | Turkey