Turkey’s Africa summit might be an opportunity to sell more drones – Euronews

December 18, 2021 by No Comments

At a two-day Turkey-Africa summit, president Tayyip Recep Erdogan addressed what he described as a “great injustice.”

“Developments in recent years show us that allowing five member countries of the UN to decide the whole world’s destiny was a mistake,” he told dozens of African leaders assembled in the audience of the summit which opened in Istanbul on Friday.

It is not fair, Erdogan said, “that the African continent, with its population of 1.3 billion, is not represented at the UN Security Council,” while it represents a sixth of the world’s population.

But the summit is also a big business opportunity — Turkey has been deepening its defence ties with African countries.

It also has sophisticated, battle-tested drones to sell.

This represents the next phase of the fast-blossoming relationship, experts say, since a number of African leaders are looking to buy up military hardware at cheaper prices and with fewer strings attached.

In August, Turkey signed a military cooperation pledge with Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed, who has been embroiled in a war with Tigrayan rebels for the past year.

Ankara already has a military base in Somalia, while Morocco and Tunisia reportedly took their first delivery of Turkish combat drones in September.

Angola also expressed an interest in drones during Erdogan’s first visit to the southern African country in October.

Turkey to leapfrog Russia as top weapons seller in Africa?

“The most important sector is the defence sector because this is a new asset. Turkey has pushed this sector a lot, especially drones,” Federico Donelli, an international relations researcher at the University of Genoa, told AFP.

Russia has been the most dominant player on the African arms market, accounting for 49 per cent of the continent’s imports between 2015 and 2019, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

But interest in Turkish weaponry is peaking.

The Bayraktar TB2 model is in high demand after it was credited with swinging the fate of conflicts in Libya and Azerbaijan’s breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh in the past few years.

The drones are made by the private Baykar company, run by Haluk Bayraktar, one of Erdogan’s sons-in-law.

“Everywhere I go in Africa, everyone asks about UAVs,” Erdogan boasted after a visit to Angola, Nigeria, and Togo in October, boasting about his drones.

Turkey’s ties with Ethiopia have also come under serious scrutiny, where a brutal conflict has killed thousands, displaced more than two million, and driven hundreds of thousands into famine-like conditions, according to UN estimates.

A Western source said Turkey sent an undisclosed number of …….

Source: https://www.euronews.com/2021/12/18/turkey-s-africa-summit-might-be-an-opportunity-to-sell-more-drones

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