PARIS — Turkey’s national telecommunications satellite operator, Turksat, will issue a request for bids for a Turksat 4A satellite in the coming weeks and expects to select a manufacturer by the end of 2009 for a launch in 2011, Turksat Director-General Ozkan Dalbay said Aug. 28.

In a statement, Dalbay said the contract will include substantial technology-transfer provisions to permit about 50 Turkish engineers to gain expertise in satellite construction. By 2014 or 2015, he said, Turkey should be capable of producing its own telecommunications spacecraft.

Turksat currently operates three satellites, all built by Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy.

Turksat 4A will be larger than the Turksat 3A satellite in orbit at Turkey’s prime 42 degrees east position. Turksat 3A has 24 Ku-band transponders.

The new satellite will replace the Turksat 1C spacecraft now located at 31 degrees east. Turksat 1C was launched in 1996 and had a 10-year contracted in-orbit service life. It is currently operating in inclined orbit, meaning that to save fuel it no longer is stabilized on its north-south axis.

Turksat 4A will include C-band as well as Ku-band capacity and will serve markets in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and China, he said.

Dalbay said Turksat 1C would be sent into a graveyard orbit once Turksat 4A is in service.

Peter B. de Selding was the Paris bureau chief for SpaceNews.