Turkey’s Africa summit: A likely opportunity to sell more drones

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Turkey's Africa summit: A likely opportunity to sell more drones
Turkey's Africa summit: A likely opportunity to sell more drones

Africa-Press – Eritrea. At a two-day Turkey-Africa summit, which ended in Istanbul on Saturday, President Erdogan described as a great injustice, the absence of an African representative at the UN Security Council.

The summit is also a business opportunity; Turkey has been deepening defence ties with African countries and has sophisticated and battle tested drones to sell.

” It is a great injustice that the African continent, with its population of 1.3 billion, is not represented at the UN Security Council.” Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish President said

Turkey’s footprint in Africa is growing ever bigger. In two decades it has opened thirty more embassies.

and its trade volume has gone up nearly five fold in the same length of time.

Ankara has developed a military base in Somalia, and Morocco and Tunisia believed to have taken delivery of Turkish combat drones in September.

Analysts say a host of African leaders at the summit are looking to buy up military hardware at cheaper prices from Turkey and with fewer strings attached.

This issue appears as one that needs to be given some attention as. About two weeks ago, South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa also raised the same issue in Senegal where he participated in a Forum for Peace and Security in Africa.

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 combat drones in support of Abiy’s campaign earlier this year, but that Ankara has since responded to international pressure and halted the sales.

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