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Turkey’s drone maker signals he may enter politics

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Selçuk Bayraktar, chairman of Turkish defense contractor Baykar and the son-in-law of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has said he may enter politics if circumstances dictate, amid claims that he is likely to succeed Erdoğan, the Patronlar Dünyası business news website reported.

Bayraktar said he has never dreamed of being in politics or becoming president of the country but is not totally against the idea.

He said he is determined to develop Turkey’s national technology and is ready to do whatever is necessary to achieve that goal.

“If this goal requires me to enter politics, I won’t hesitate,” said Bayraktar when asked if he has any plans to enter politics in the future.

After Bayraktar along with Turkish naval commanders visited the USS Gerald R. Ford, the US Navy’s largest aircraft carrier, at the invitation of US Ambassador to Turkey Jeff Flake last month, and Flake visited the Teknofest Aerospace and Technology Festival in Ankara last week where he met with Selçuk Bayraktar and his brother Haluk, Baykar’s CEO, claims have emerged that Selçuk Bayraktar is Erdoğan’s successor.

Erdoğan was elected president again in a runoff election in May for what he said was his last term in office. His tenure will end in 2028.

Economist Timothy Ash said on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the US ambassador’s photo with Bayraktar shows that he is seen as the future in many ways.

Drones developed by Baykar have been exported to 24 countries and have been used in conflicts in Azerbaijan, Libya and Ukraine. Many say the company owes its success to Erdoğan, who personally promotes the Baykar drones during his visits to foreign countries, as a result of which agreements worth of millions of dollars are signed.

Erdoğan’s other-son-in-law, Berat Albayrak, had been also seen as his successor for some time, but his political life was short lived.

Albayrak was elected to parliament in 2015 and served first as energy minister and then as finance minister until November 2020, when he, in a surprise move, announced his resignation. Albayrak, who was seen as the architect of Turkey’s deteriorating economy at the time, has not returned to politics since then and has stayed out of the public eye.

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