Turkey’s defense industry is set to become the first sector to draw investment from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as part of an expected $10 billion (TL 136 billion) investment in several sectors.
In addition to this particular sector, the Gulf country is also planning to invest in Turkey’s agriculture, energy, food and informatics sectors.
The investment decision came following President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s two-day official visit to the country during which he also met with UAE business leaders.
Nail Olpak, Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK) chairperson, commenting on the developments regarding the recent visit said a new and powerful process had started to unfold in economic relations with the UAE.
"Their appetite for investment in Turkey is very high," he said.
Explaining that they will start meetings with the federations of chambers of commerce and industry in Istanbul and the UAE as soon as possible, Olpak said, "First of all, they told us that we have a very strong contracting sector and they want to benefit from this."
"UAE's private sector is interested in engaging Turkey in certain investment areas. This can be from scratch, or in the form of partnerships with existing ones. We have seen that their interest in energy, informatics, food and agriculture has come to the fore," he said.
DEIK Turkey-UAE Business Council head Tevfik Öz, meanwhile, also pointed out sectors including energy, real estate, agriculture, food and health as possible areas of cooperation, with the defense industry leading the way.
"This year, we can see the investments that bring together the knowledge of Turkish companies and their financial power. Especially the defense industry is the closest sector to cooperation. The whole process is proceeding with a win-win logic," Öz emphasized.
Turkey’s defense sector has gained a huge momentum in recent years, enabling the country not only use its domestic products but to export worldwide.
Turkey currently makes defense industry exports to 170 countries, while the number of products exported, including UAVs, armed UAVs, ground vehicles and sea platforms, has reached 228, Ismail Demir, Presidency of Defense Industries (SSB) Chairperson, told Daily Sabah late January, reiterating that Turkey’s armed UAVs have gained worldwide attention recently.
Turkish drones, more particularly, have gained popularity since the hardware was deployed in Syria, Libya and Azerbaijan during conflicts that were prominently covered around the world.
Ankara hopes to use these successes in its quest to become a premier exporter of UAVs.
Turkey and the UAE have signed 13 cooperation agreements in various sectors during Erdoğan’s visit to the Gulf country amid the normalization process between the two regional powers.
Erdoğan’s visit to the UAE was the first in a decade as the two countries are mending ties strained by years of animosity in a pivot toward economic partnership.