Turkish military drone Bayraktar

Poland, first EU and NATO country to buy Turkish military drones

Poland has acquired 24 Bayraktar TB2 drones, designed and manufactured in Turkey, becoming the first EU and NATO country to do it.

Poland has become the first EU and NATO country to purchase military drones designed and manufactured in Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on Monday, coinciding with an official visit to Ankara by his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda.

The agreement was reached during the visit to Turkey of Duda, who today planned to travel to Istanbul to visit the Greek-Orthodox Patriarchate of the city as well as Polonezköy (“Polish people”, in Turkish), a town located on the outskirts of Istanbul founded in the 1840s by Polish refugees, some of whose descendants still live there today.

Erdoğan said that the agreement with Poland to buy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will serve to boost the Turkish defence industry, which the Turkish government has promoted in recent years with large investments in infrastructure and R&D to cover its internal demand and export its products to other countries.

In total, the Polish army will acquire 24 units of the Bayraktar TB2 drone: a model that has also been exported to other countries such as Ukraine, Qatar, or Azerbaijan, which used them in its recent conflict with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkish combat drones have also acquired an international reputation as a result of their successful deployment in other war scenarios, such as Syria or Libya.

Turkish fighters will patrol the skies of Poland

“We are really happy to share this experience, capabilities and opportunities (offered by the Bayraktar TB2) with our NATO ally,” underlined Erdoğan, who also announced that Turkish F-16 fighter jets will be sent “soon” to patrol the skies of Poland as part of NATO’s “Baltic Air Police” mission near the Russian border.

The Polish president for his part referred to Turkey during the press conference as “the strongest ally” of Warsaw “in this part of the world”, and thanked Erdoğan for having Turkish pilots “protecting the skies” of Poland. Duda also thanked the Turkish president for his willingness to create a trilateral dialogue mechanism that also includes Romania.

During his appearance, the President of Poland also referred to the desire expressed by both countries to improve their commercial ties, noting that both Warsaw and Ankara have set the goal of reaching 10 billion dollars in bilateral trade, from the current figure of 6.500 million dollars a year. The two presidents also signed cooperation agreements on tourism, agriculture and sports.

Referring to Poland’s purchase of Turkish combat drones, Erdoğan stressed that “Turkey, for the first time in its history, will export drones to a NATO and EU member country,” while praising the technological capabilities of the TB2. “We are among the 3 or 4 best countries in the world in hardware,” said the Turkish president.