Reuters reported that Turkey had expanded its military drone exports by negotiating agreements with Morocco and Ethiopia after the aircraft demonstrated their performance in international conflicts.
According to an analysis by Reuters, any transport of drones to Ethiopia risks causing friction in the already tense relations between Ankara and Cairo, which is in contradiction with Addis Ababa in terms of a hydropower dam on the Blue Nile.
Two Egyptian security officials said that Egypt had called on the United States and some European countries to take steps to freeze the agreements. An Egyptian official said any agreement should be presented and clarified in talks between Cairo and Ankara, which seek to reform bilateral relations.
Turkey, Ethiopia and Morocco have not officially announced any agreement on combat drones, but sources familiar with these arrangements have provided some details.
Ethiopia and Morocco have requested the purchase of Bayraktar TB2 drones
A Turkish official said Ethiopia and Morocco had requested the purchase of Bayraktar TB2 drones in agreements that could include guarantees for spare parts and training. According to him, a diplomat who asked not to be revealed his identity, Morocco received the first batch of combat drones he requested in May. Ethiopia intends to obtain these aircraft, but the demand situation is still unclear.
Sources quoted by Reuters did not mention the number of aircraft included in the two offers, nor did they provide financial details.
Official data show that Turkey’s air and defense exports have risen sharply to Morocco and Ethiopia in the past two months, but do not provide details on drone sales.
Turkey and Egypt have clashed in recent years
Author’s comment: In this context, it is noted that Morocco and Ethiopia are intensifying their cooperation in various areas, as negotiations remain stalled on the Ethiopian Great Renaissance Dam, and Egypt refuses to support Morocco on the issue of Western Sahara.
On September 15, the Moroccan news site Barlamane reported that in the coming weeks, Ethiopia will open diplomatic offices in Laayoune, the largest city in Western Sahara. The measure will support Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed region.
With the outbreak of violence between the Polisario Front and Morocco in November 2020, Arab countries rushed to declare their support for Rabat. On 13 November 2020, the UAE announced its support for Morocco’s actions to defend its lands, and Saudi Arabia followed suit.
Jordan, Kuwait, Yemen, Bahrain and Qatar have expressed their full support for Morocco’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and have said that the kingdom should take the measures it deems appropriate to protect its lands. However, Egypt refused to support the kingdom.
Turkey and Egypt have clashed in recent years over their conflicting positions on the Muslim Brotherhood, the war in Libya and the maritime borders in the Eastern Mediterranean. Bilateral relations between Turkey and Egypt have strained after the Egyptian army ousted democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi in what Ankara described as a military coup.