[ACCI-CAVIE] While Turkish weapons systems have been successful in a number of recent conflicts, contracts to acquire them come with little political clout
In 2021, Morocco, Algiers’ neighbor and rival, signed an initial order for thirteen Bayraktar TB2 armed drones from Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar, before ordering six more a few months later.
In 2021, Niger became the first foreign customer to order the TAI Hürkuş, a turboprop light attack and training aircraft.
Since then, Chad and – according to reports – Libya have ordered the same aircraft. TAI expects many more African customers for its Hürkuş, as its deputy general manager indicated in September 2022.
“Totally unprecedented” exports
In November 2021, Nigeria ordered two Turkish-built Dearsan offshore patrol vessels for its navy. The country has also since ordered six TAI T-129 ATAK helicopters.
Ethiopia, meanwhile, acquired TB2 UAVs in 2021 and used them in the Tigray war. At least 10 African countries have also ordered Turkish-made armored military vehicles.
“Turkish defense exports to Africa are totally unprecedented in terms of quantity, quality, value and scale,” Ali Bakir, a non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank and assistant professor at the Ibn Khaldun Center at Qatar University, tells Middle East Eye. “This reality should not be divorced from Ankara’s rising influence on the continent and its strategy to strengthen political, economic and security ties with several African countries.”
Nicholas Heras, director of the Strategy and Innovation Unit at the New Lines Institute, echoes this idea and says the Turkish defense industry is now benefiting from “many years of persistent efforts by Turkish diplomats to make Turkey a major exporter to Africa.”
By Mondafrique and LB