Poland will purchase 24 Bayraktar TB2 drones from Turkey's Baykar Defence, in what will be "the first time in its history" for Turkey to make such a sale to a NATO and EU member state, said Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
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 Erdogan announced.
The deal will be a boost for the Turkish defence sector, which Erdogan 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," Erdogan told reporters after holding talks with Duda.
Erdogan hailed the drones, saying "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.
Turkey's President Erdogan after meeting his Polish counterpart Duda in Ankara:— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) May 24, 2021
– Will for first time export drones to NATO, EU member Poland
– Will soon deploy F-16 jets to Poland as part of NATO’s Baltic Air-policing mission
– On course to achieve $10B bilateral trade target pic.twitter.com/xq2pCdkaQP
$10B trade target
Erdogan underlined that Turkey and Poland were "walking firmly" towards achieving their $10 billion target in bilateral trade volume.
Poland will buy 24 Bayraktar TB2 drones from Baykar Defence, state broadcaster TRT Haber reported.
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.
"Turkey, as part of NATO's Baltic Air-policing mission, will soon deploy its F-16 jets in Poland," he added, hailing the dispatch of Polish maritime patrol aircraft and military missions to the Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey under NATO's assurance measures adapted to Ankara.
For his part, Duda said Turkey was the "strongest ally" of Poland in "this part of the world" and thanked Erdogan for the Turkish pilots "protecting the skies."
"I believe that as part of the NATO framework, we can prevent threats to the two countries from inside and outside the country," he added.
Duda also echoed his Turkish counterpart's sentiments on their countries' commercial cooperation, which he said would bring them to their $10 billion trade target.
Prior to the joint news conference, top officials of the countries signed agreements in the fields of defence, agriculture, tourism, and sports.
Bayraktar TB2 entered the inventory of the Turkish army in 2014 and is currently used by several other countries, including Ukraine, Qatar, and Azerbaijan.
Turkey has used its cutting-edge drones effectively over the years in cross-border, anti-terror military operations, such as Euphrates Shield, Olive Branch, and Spring Shield, to liberate its Syrian border from terrorist groups.