After recent agreements with Poland and Ukraine, Albania will become the next buyer of Turkish combat drones, which are high in demand.
Turkish armed drone Bayraktar TB-2 continues to be all the rage. After Poland, Ukraine, Qatar and Azerbaijan buying them, Albania has set aside a budget to purchase their share of the sophisticated armed drones from Ankara.
Albanian parliament has approved an additional budget of $9.7 million (€ 8.2 million) for the supply of Turkish drones.
Within the scope of the agreement with Turkey and measures to increase national security and territorial control, the additional budget was allocated to the Albanian Ministry of Defense for the purchase of combat UAVs.
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama visited Turkey with some cabinet members at the beginning of June and noted that they talked about the control system of the country's territory with super-intelligent drones during their meetings with Turkish companies.
Rama stated that they aim to produce real-time data on roads, coastline, farmland, forests and public order with the drones.
On the other hand, Interior Minister Bledi Cuci visited the "Baykar Defense" company within the scope of his visit to Turkey in June and said that “we are evaluating the possibility of using Turkish UCAVs for civilian and military purposes in Albania
Turkish drones: Game-changing in warzones
The demand for Turkish drones has been increasing in the global defence industry after they have successfully altered battleground equations and neutralised the enemy targets in high intensity conflicts like Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh.
In May, Poland became the first NATO member to buy Turkish armed drones after announcing to buy 24 Bayraktar TB2 type UAVs from Turkey and the first batch of drones will be delivered in 2022.
Turkey has become the world's fourth-biggest drone producer after the US, Israel and China. The Turkish government invested energy and resources in drone innovation after feeling neglected by the US, which not only refused to sell attack drones to Ankara in 2010 and 2012, but also delayed the delivery of Patriot, a surface-to-air missile system, forcing its NATO ally to purchase S-400 missile defence system from Russia.
Bayraktar TB-2 entered the inventory of the Turkish army in 2014 and is currently used by several countries including Ukraine, Qatar and Azerbaijan. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in March that Saudi Arabia also showed interest in buying the Turkish drones, but no further development has been reported on it.
Turkey and Albania have close relations dating back to the Ottoman era which binds the two nations together from socio-cultural perspective.
Both countries have signed an agreement to upgrade bilateral ties to a strategic partnership level in early January.
"[...] We just signed a joint political declaration on the establishment of the High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council. Thus, we have raised our relations to the level of strategic partnership,"Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
"We are planning to increase investments in infrastructure and tourism in Albania. We want to lift our economic cooperation to a new dimension," Erdogan added.
On the other hand, Turkey has constructed a friendship hospital in Albania and opened it in April.
The 150-bed hospital has six operating theaters and six polyclinics.
The hospital was completed in just 68 days in the southwest city of Fier after the idea for the facility came during Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama's January 6 visit to Turkey.
"I think we are lucky to have the opportunity given by the Turkish staff to guide us and teach us more about medicine in general, but also about surgery," General surgeon Frenki Vila said.