October 14, 2021
Orhan Coskun, Jonathan Spicer, Ece Toksabay
Ankara (Reuters) -Turkey expanded exports of armed drones by negotiating a sales contract between Morocco and Ethiopia after its successful use in international disputes, according to four sources familiar with the agreement.
Transporting drones to Ethiopia risks causing friction in the already tense relationship between Ankara and Cairo, which is at odds with Addis Ababa over the Blue Nile hydroelectric dam.
Two Egyptian security sources said Cairo had called on the United States and some European countries to help freeze the deal. A third Egyptian source said an agreement needed to be raised and clarified in negotiations between Cairo and Ankara in an attempt to restore the relationship.
Turkey, Ethiopia and Morocco have not officially announced a deal for armed drones, but several sources familiar with the deal have provided details to Reuters.
A Turkish official said both Ethiopia and Morocco have demanded the purchase of a Bayraktar TB2 drone with a possible agreement that includes warranty and training of spare parts.
Diplomats who demanded anonymity individually stated that they had received the first batch of armed drones ordered by Morocco in May. Ethiopia plans to acquire them, but the status of the order is less clear, the envoy said.
Sources do not provide details on the number of drones involved in the transaction or the financial details.
Poland, a NATO partner in Ukraine and Turkey, also ordered an armed drone. This is cheaper than its rivals in the markets manufactured in Israel, China and the United States, according to military experts.
Official data show that Turkey’s defense and air exports have skyrocketed to Morocco and Ethiopia in the last two months, but no details of drone sales have been given.
Ethiopian troops and the Prime Minister’s Office did not respond to requests for comment on this issue.
The Moroccan government could not comment immediately. The army has not publicly discussed procurement.
Turkey’s best defense procurement and development agencies did not immediately respond to written requests for comments. Drone maker Bayraktar, whose TB2 model was designed by President Erdogan’s son-in-law, also declined to comment.
Increasing interest in armed drones has encouraged the Turkish government to increase exports to alleviate economic problems and underscore the growing importance of armed drones in modern warfare.
Turkish troops used drones in Syria and Libya last year. In Libya, Ankara supported a Tripoli-based government against eastern troops backed by Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt.
In Nagorno-Karabakh, the drone helped Turkey’s ally Azerbaijan defeat Armenian-backed troops.
Defense and aviation exports to Ethiopia surged to $ 51 million in the first three months of this year, rising from $ 203,000 in the same period last year to August and September, according to the Turkish Exporters Council. ..
Exports to Morocco were $ 78.6 million over the same period, from $ 402,000 last year to $ 62 million in September alone.
Some Moroccan media have reported the arrival of armed drones from Turkey.
A Facebook page, which identifies itself as an informal Moroccan military forum, reported last month that the first TB2 drone from an order for 13 aircraft arrived from Turkey and the military sent officers to Turkey for pilot training.
Turkey’s total defense and aviation exports totaled $ 2.1 billion in the first three quarters of this year, up 39% from last year’s $ 1.5 billion, according to the Turkish Exporters Conference.
(Additional report by Aidan Lewis in Cairo and Ahmed Eljechtimi in Rabat, written by Jonathan Spicer, edited by Timothy Heritage)
Turkey expands sales of armed drones to Ethiopia and Morocco – sources
Source link Turkey expands sales of armed drones to Ethiopia and Morocco – sources