Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on Sunday said Türkiye agreed to provide its increasingly popular drones to Egypt, as the two countries add momentum to the rapid restoration of normal diplomatic relations after a decade of strained ties.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is set to travel to Egypt on Feb. 14 to meet his counterpart Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, in his first visit since Ankara and Cairo upgraded relations by appointing ambassadors last year.
Fidan told private A Haber television that Türkiye’s leader will discuss bilateral and regional issues including trade, energy and security with el-Sissi.
“Normalization in our relations is important for Egypt to have certain technologies. We have an agreement to provide (Egypt) unmanned air vehicles and other technologies,” Fidan said, without further elaborating.
International demand for Turkish drones has soared after their impact on conflicts in Syria, Libya, Azerbaijan and Ukraine. Ethiopia, which has frosty relations with Egypt over a hydropower dam on the Blue Nile, is among the buyers of Turkish drones.
Relations between Türkiye and Egypt were strained and maintained at the level of charge d’affaires since the 2013 military coup, which overthrew the late Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.
Normalization accelerated after Erdoğan and el-Sissi shook hands in Doha at the World Cup in 2022 and gained further pace following the deadly February 2023 earthquakes in Türkiye and Erdoğan’s reelection in May.
Any sale is expected to likely include drones developed by Baykar, including Bayraktar TB2, which helped swing conflicts in multiple countries, such as Azerbaijan and Libya, and in Ukraine, where they played a pivotal role in countering Russian forces early into Moscow’s invasion.
They have transformed Türkiye into a major global supplier and become integral to Erdoğan’s vision of a self-reliant defense industry, spanning from UCAVs to fighter jets and warships.
Baykar has exported its drones to more than 30 countries to date. The TB2 can fly for more than 20 hours at 27,000 feet, can carry a load of up to 120 kilograms (265 pounds) and weighs only 650 kilograms.
The platform is known for taking out some of the most advanced anti-aircraft systems, artillery systems and armored vehicles.