Poland becomes first NATO country to buy Turkish drones

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Poland will purchase Turkish armed drones, becoming the first NATO and EU member state to buy the hardware from Ankara, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Monday, Agence France-Presse reported.

The deal will be a boost for the Turkish defense sector, which Erdoğan has said should meet the country’s own military hardware requirements and export to allies abroad.

The sale was announced during a state visit to Ankara by Poland’s President Andrzej Duda, who will visit Istanbul on Tuesday.

“Turkey will for the first time in its history export drones to a NATO and EU member,” Erdoğan told reporters after holding talks with Duda.

Erdoğan hailed the drones, saying that “we are one of the best three, four countries in the world” for the hardware.

“We’re really happy to share this experience, capability and opportunities with our NATO ally,” he said.

Turkey remains a candidate to join the EU despite stalled talks.

Poland will buy 24 Bayraktar TB2 drones from the private Baykar company, run by one of Erdoğan’s son-in-law, state broadcaster TRT Haber reported.

The company has also exported the TB2 model to Ukraine, Qatar and Azerbaijan.

Turkish drones have gained in popularity since the hardware was deployed in Syria, Libya and Azerbaijan during conflicts that were prominently covered around the world.

Duda emphasized Poland’s bid to improve trade ties with Turkey, adding that he hoped bilateral trade would reach $10 billion (8.1 billion euros).

The two leaders also signed deals for the tourism, agriculture and sport sectors.

Erdoğan also said Turkish F-16 jets would “soon” be sent to Poland to assist NATO’s Baltic Air Policing operation.

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