Turkish Firm to Supply Drones to Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Saudi Arabia, which was intended to entice foreign investment, Riyadh announced on Tuesday that a Turkish company will supply drones to Saudi Arabia.

Several contracts, including the drone deal with the privately-owned Baykar, were signed during a meeting between Erdogan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Red Sea port of Jeddah, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.

Haluk Bayraktar, CEO of the drone manufacturer which is co-run by one of Erdogan’s sons-in-laws, in a tweet called the deal “the biggest defence and aviation export contract in the history of the Turkish Republic”.

The value of the deal has not been made public.

Drones developed by firm Baykar have been used in Azerbaijan, Libya and Ukraine

Erdogan, who in May elections won another five-year term, was in Saudi Arabia to kick off a Gulf tour seeking to drum up support for Turkiye’s faltering economy.

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After attending a Saudi-Turkish business forum in Jeddah on Monday, Erdogan and Prince Mohammed discussed “prospects for joint cooperation” in their meeting, SPA reported.

The two leaders signed cooperation agreements in the fields of energy, direct investment, defence and media, the report said.

It added that Saudi officials also signed “two contracts with the Turkish company Baykar”.

Drones developed by Baykar have been used in Azerbaijan, Libya and Ukraine.

Saudi Arabia “will acquire drones with the aim of enhancing the readiness of the kingdom’s armed forces and bolstering its defence and manufacturing capabilities”, Defence Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman said on Tuesday.

He did not specify the type of drone the kingdom is looking to procure.

An Arab diplomat in Riyadh, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the press, said it was Baykar’s TB2 model.

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