Saudi Arabia agrees to purchase Turkish drones

In a significant development, Saudi Arabia has committed to procuring Turkish drones, marking one of several prosperous deals established by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for Turkey’s embattled economy. This comes amidst Turkey’s recent diplomatic efforts to mend relations with Gulf Arab countries.

President Erdogan embarked on a three-stop tour of the region, landing in Saudi Arabia on Monday. He was accompanied by a contingent of nearly 200 businesspeople, according to the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey. During the visit, multiple memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were inked across diverse sectors, such as energy, direct investments and defence industries.

President Erdogan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman presided over the signing ceremony for the drones agreement, which was orchestrated between Baykar, a Turkish defence company, and the Saudi defence ministry, as reported by the Saudi state news agency SPA.

Defence Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman Al Saud expressed that the acquisition of drones was designed to enhance the readiness of Saudi’s armed forces and elevate its defence and manufacturing capabilities.

Although the value of the deal was not disclosed by SPA, the acquisition signifies a promising development for Turkey’s beleaguered economy. The nation has been grappling with economic challenges, including soaring inflation rates, a ballooning current account deficit, and a depreciating currency. Turkish Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek stated that tax hikes were essential to restoring fiscal discipline and reducing inflation.

Turkey has also sought to repair its ties with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, following a decade-long dispute subsequent to the 2011 Arab Spring and Ankara’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood. This rapprochement has resulted in significant financial support from Gulf nations.

In fact, shortly after President Erdogan’s re-election last month, the UAE and Turkey agreed upon a trade deal potentially worth $40bn over the next five years. Turkey also received $5bn from Saudi Arabia deposited into its central bank in March, as well as $20bn in currency swap agreements from Qatar and the UAE.

Erdogan is scheduled to meet Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in Doha on Tuesday before visiting the UAE leader in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Image Credit: Turkish Presidency via AP

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