Saudi Arabia wants to buy armed drones from Turkey: Erdogan | Gun News


The Turkish president is also expressing his dissatisfaction with Riyadh’s joint air exercises with longtime rival Greece.

Saudi Arabia is seeking to buy armed drones from Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, to an extent that could mark a rapprochement between the two rival regional powers.

Ties between Ankara and Riyadh have been strained since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Trade collapsed following an informal Saudi boycott, but the two countries said they would work to improve relations. .

But during a press briefing, Erdogan also expressed dissatisfaction with the kingdom’s decision to conduct joint air exercises with Turkey‘s longtime rival Greece, suggesting that a drone deal hinged on the future conduct of Riyadh.

“Saudi Arabia is conducting joint exercises with Greece,” Erdogan said.

“Yet, at the same time, Saudi Arabia is asking us for armed drones. Our hope is to resolve this issue calmly without overheating. “

Turkey has emerged as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of armed drones, allowing Azerbaijan’s ally to make huge gains in a six-week war with Armenia last year in the disputed region. of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Turkish drones have also been deployed in conflicts in Syria and Libya.

Riyadh has already entered into a technology transfer agreement with the private Turkish company Vestel which allows Saudi Arabia to manufacture its own military drones.

But there is widespread speculation that he is also looking for military deliveries that could bypass arms embargoes some Western countries have imposed during his military campaign in Yemen.

A broader strategy

Turkey’s hopes of easing tensions with Saudi Arabia are part of a larger regional effort. Ankara has said on several occasions that it also sees prospects for improving relations with Egypt, which have been strained since the Egyptian military overthrew Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi, who was close to Erdogan, in 2013.

Erdogan and his foreign minister said last week that Turkey had resumed diplomatic contacts with Egypt and wanted more cooperation. Cairo said Turkey’s actions “must show alignment with Egyptian principles” to normalize relations.

The two countries support rival sides in the Libyan conflict and in the Eastern Mediterranean. Egypt signed a maritime agreement with Greece which angered Turkey.

Erdogan said Cairo’s recent actions in the region were “a manifestation of a temporary error,” but that he believed the Egyptian people would not oppose Turkey’s position in the eastern Mediterranean.


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