Saudi SAMI, Turkish firms establish new defense collaborations - M5 Dergi
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Saudi SAMI, Turkish firms establish new defense collaborations

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State-owned Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) announced early on Thursday it signed three memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with Turkish companies to “support the localization of defense industries” in the kingdom.

In a statement, SAMI said it agreed with Türkiye’s drone maker Baykar to “establish manufacturing capabilities” and develop systems for Baykar’s unmanned aerial vehicles in Saudi Arabia.

It also agreed with Turkish aerospace and defense company Aselsan to explore opportunities for developing defense electronics technologies in the kingdom.

In addition, SAMI signed a preliminary agreement with Türkiye’s Fergani Space for the “development of emerging technologies in the kingdom to serve the global space sector,” the statement said.

Last year, Saudi Arabia agreed to buy drones from Baykar, the biggest defense contract in Türkiye’s history. The deal was followed by a strategic agreement to localize the manufacturing of drones in the kingdom.

Turkish drones produced by Baykar have played a significant role in various conflicts around the world, including in Ukraine and Azerbaijan, where they have been used for surveillance and precision strikes.

These drones have been credited with changing the dynamics of warfare, providing critical support to operations and demonstrating the effectiveness of unmanned aerial systems in modern combat.

The trade volume between Türkiye and Saudi Arabia experienced a long, steep fall, driven mainly by informal embargoes on Turkish goods after ties were ruptured following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate.

In a sign of mending ties, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan visited Saudi Arabia in April 2022, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) traveled to Türkiye in June of the same year.

In the second trip since the rapprochement, Erdoğan flew to Jeddah in mid-July last year as part of a three-country tour of the Gulf, including Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In the meantime, officials from both sides have expressed a willingness to boost their cooperation in several sectors, such as the defense industry, tourism and construction.

The bilateral volume between the two stood at $6.8 billion last year, with Turkish exports increasing by 150% annually to $2.62 billion. Turkish officials have conveyed the aim of increasing the mutual trade to reach $10 billion in the medium term and $30 billion in the long term.

Several high-level talks have been held since last year, including at the Türkiye-Suadi Arabia Investment and Business Forum held in Istanbul earlier this year, and most recently between Trade Minister Ömer Bolat and Saudi Ambassador to Ankara Fahad bin Assaad Abu Al-Nasr.

For its part, Saudi Arabia is highly focusing on its economic and social reform program, known as “Vision 2030,” which aims to lay the groundwork for an eventual post-oil future. The kingdom will also be the host of the World Expo Fair in 2030 and the men’s FIFA World Cup in 2034.

Source: DailySabah

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