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Officials: Turkish Firms Eye Billions in Saudi Defense Contracts

January 3, 2016 (Photo Credit: Saudi Press Agency via AFP)

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish defense companies are chasing contracts worth several billion dollars in Saudi Arabia, according to Turkish procurement officials.

The officials said that one Turkish armored vehicles maker, FNSS, is looking to win a contract that may be worth up to $10 billion to supply scores of armored vehicles.

One official said FNSS could produce the armored vehicles in Turkey or in Saudi Arabia.

Procurement officials also said Saudi Arabia was interested in two indigenous Turkish systems: the Altay, a new generation main battle tank; and the ANKA, a drone.

The Altay was developed by another armored vehicles maker, Otokar. The government is planning to launch a bidding for its serial production. The ANKA is made by Tusas Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI).

The potential contracts were discussed during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's state visit to Saudi Arabia on Dec. 31. Erdogan met with Saudi Arabia's King Salman. Turkey views the Saudi kingdom as an important Sunni ally. Both countries back Syrian opposition fighting to oust Syria's non-Sunni president, Bashar al-Assad.

Erdogan told reporters that the most important steps Turkey and Saudi Arabia are committed to take were in the fields of "commerce and defense industry."

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