Turkish Defense Firms Deepen Cooperation with Saudi Arabia
Turkish Defense firms Baykar, Aselsan and Roketsan have signed new agreements with Saudi Arabia in an attempt to deepen the cooperation between Ankara and Riyad in the defense realm. The new agreements that paved the way for new defense exports came after Turkey’s leading drone producer, Baykar, inked the most significant defense export contract with Saudi Arabia during President Erdoğan’s Gulf tour in July 2023.
Aselsan and Roketsan also joined Baykar’s recent bid and signed memorandums of understanding with the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) for Mechanical Systems. The Turkish defense firms, specifically Baykar, are expected to cooperate with their Saudi counterparts in defense localization initiatives and technology transfer. The signing ceremony was held in Riyadh under the auspices of the Saudi Defense Ministry.
The Taliban Delegation’s Visit to Ankara
A Taliban delegation led by the Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs of Afghanistan, Abdul Ghani Baradar, visited Ankara and met with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan. The two sides focused on regional developments and discussed ways to deepen trade engagement and economic cooperation. Minister Hakan Fidan has said that the investments of Turkish investors in Afghanistan would be encouraged, and the meetings between the two countries in this respect would continue.
Bashar al-Assad Rejects to Meet with President Erdoğan
In an interview with Sky News Arabia on Wednesday, the Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad rejected to meet with President Erdoğan under the latter’s terms. According to Assad, while Syria’s expectation from a meeting with Erdoğan is the withdrawal of the Turkish troops from Syrian soil, Erdoğan’s primary goal is to legitimize Turkish ‘occupation’ in Northern Syria. Additionally, he accused Turkey of being the primary backer of ‘terrorism.’ Furthermore, the regime leader put forth that the Syrian refugees cannot return to their countries while electricity, school, and medicine are unavailable, effectively showing his unwillingness vis-à-vis refugees returning to Syria.
Al-Assad’s statement and consistent intransigence make it clear that Turkey cannot solve its Syria-related problem through a full-fledged normalization process with the regime. Due to Syrian refugees in Turkey, the border security, and the possibility of a joint fight against the YPG/PYD, Turkey has sought to reconcile with the regime. The Turkish efforts explicitly heightened at the end of 2022, after the Turkish officials met with their Syrian counterparts, including the then Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, in Moscow under Russian auspices. In May 2023, the then-Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also met with the regime’s Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad in Moscow.