ANKARA — Despite their differences over the July coup in Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have ratified a defense industry cooperation agreement..
According to the agreement, which took effect Sept. 11, Turkey and Saudi Arabia “aim to increase cooperation in the defense industry by improving the industry capabilities of both countries through more effective collaboration on the development, production and procurement of goods and services in the defense industry and the related technical and logistical support fields.”
The agreement had been signed in May and was pending parliamentary approval.
The agreement will remain in force for five years and it should be extended automatically for successive one-year periods. Last year, the Turkish parliament also approved a deal with Saudi Arabia regarding cooperation in the training of military personnel.
On a political level, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have cooperated to support the rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which both countries said must be removed. But Ankara and Riyadh differ in their Egypt policies. Turkey has been a fierce opponent of the military coup that ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in July, while the Saudi kingdom has been supporting the military-backed government there.
Industry experts here say the cooperation accord between Turkey and Saudi Arabia could facilitate Turkey’s future exports of naval vessels, assault boats, armored vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles to Saudi Arabia. The Arab kingdom also has shown an interest in the Altay, Turkey’s first indigenous new-generation battle tank now in the prototype production and testing stage.