The Turkish Military Electronic Industries (ASELSAN), a company of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) Foundation, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and TAQNIA Defence and Security Technologies (DST), a subsidiary of the Saudi development and investment company.
ASELSAN announced the agreement on July 10 saying that the deal will bolster relations between the companies “in coordination with government agencies and other organisations,” in a written statement on its official website.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by KACST President Prince Dr. Turki Bin Saud Bin Mohammad Al Saud, TAQNIA DST’s CEO Dr. Hamad Alyousefi, and ASELSAN Vice President Oguz Sener, accompanied by Turkish Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Yunus Demirer, and other dignitaries from both sides.
Prince Dr. Al Saud remarked on the agreement underlining that it will help technology and innovation capabilities of the Kingdom advance in a positive direction.
Sener agreed with Al Saud saying that the deal will contribute to the Kingdom's defence and security.
ASELSAN began its activities in 1975 led by the Turkish Land Forces Foundation aiming “to develop unique products and systems by making use of critical technologies.” The company also produces tactical military radios and defence electronic systems for the Turkish Armed Forces.
KACST is an independent scientific organisation of the Saudi Kingdom which is depended on the Saudi prime ministry.
TAQNIA is supported by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, the investment arm of the country.
"TAQNIA will achieve its vision by investing in local and global technologies and actively engage in the development and growth of those technologies into economically sustainable enterprises," according to its official website.
Turkish-Saudi relations have been boosted after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan improved relations with the new Saudi King Salman following his attendance at the funeral of the previous Saudi King Abdullah in January 2015.
In addition, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu recently met with King Salman of Saudi Arabia in Jeddah in order to discuss regional issues and stated that Turkey and Saudi Arabia are on the same page regarding regional issues, primarily the Yemeni crisis.
Turkey and Saudi Arabia have similar political stances in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen as opposed to Iran, which is the Shiite power of the Middle East and supports allied groups against mainly Sunni groups or governments in those countries. Turkey and Saudi Arabia both have majority Sunni populations.
Relations were also strengthened with the emergence of the crisis in Yemen which led to Saudi Arabian military involvement in the country in order to prevent the Iranian-backed Houthi militants from taking over the whole of Yemen.
Turkey condemned the Houthi attacks and supported the Saudi-led strikes.