Polish president signs deal to buy dozens of combat drones from Turkey

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda signed a contract on Monday to purchase 24 combat drones at a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, pro-government Daily Sabah reported. 

The move was met with delight by Erdoğan, who insisted that Turkey was among the best “three, four countries in the world” at producing effective drones, the newspaper said.

"We're really happy to share this experience, capability and opportunities with our NATO ally," the Turkish president said at the meeting.

Poland has become the first buyer of its combat-tested platform to a fellow NATO member state. Turkey’s TB-2 drones have distinguished themselves in the eyes of prospective customers for their success on the battlefield. Qatar, Libya and Ukraine are all currently operators of the TB-2 and others, including Pakistan and Kazakhstan, have shown interest in the system.

Duda for his part hailed Turkey as Poland’s “strongest ally” in the region and that he was interested in deepening cooperation. The Bayraktar TB-2 drones purchased by Poland will be equipped with anti-tank missiles that will be supplemented by a logistics and training package. 

In particular, Duda said Erdoğan was very positive on his offer to establish a trilateral dialogue with Romania a part of the Bucharest Nine security group. The organisation is a grouping of NATO states on the alliance’s eastern flank concerned with threats emanating from Russia. 

Erdoğan also promised to contribute Turkish F-16 “soon” to NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission in Poland. The two presidents expressed hope that the bilateral trade volume will increase to $10 billion from its current amount of $6.5 billion. 

After his visit to Ankara, Duda is due to visit Incirlik Air Base where a Polish military mission and maritime patrol aircraft were recently stationed. Following this, Duda will travel to Istanbul to visit the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and Polonezköy, a village established by Polish emigres fleeing retribution after the 1830 uprising.