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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke Thursday by phone with his Iranian and United Arab Emirates (UAE) counterparts.

Citing Anadolu Agency, Friday (10/22/2021), Cavusoglu and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian discussed regional issues, especially developments related to Afghanistan and Syria, as well as bilateral relations, the Foreign Ministry statement said. In addition, the issue of negotiating the future of Iran's nuclear program was also discussed.

Since Joe Biden became US president this January, Western diplomats have worked to restore or amend the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which weakened when President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the deal in May 2018. Also, during talks between Cavusoglu and his United Arab Emirates counterpart. Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, bilateral relations discussed, the ministry added. Turkey has expanded its exports of armed drones by negotiating sales deals with Morocco and Ethiopia after their successful use in international conflicts, according to four sources familiar with the agreement.

Any drone shipment to Ethiopia risks triggering friction in the already strained relationship between Ankara and Cairo, which is at odds with Addis Ababa over the Blue Nile hydroelectric dam. Reuters reported on Thursday (10/14/2021), two Egyptian security sources said. Cairo has asked the United States and several European countries to help freeze any deals. A third Egyptian source said any agreement should be raised and clarified in talks between Cairo and Ankara as they try to improve relations.

Turkey, Ethiopia, and Morocco have not officially announced an armed drone deal, 

But sources familiar with the arrangement provided Reuters with details.

A Turkish official said Ethiopia and Morocco both requested the purchase of the Bayraktar TB2 drone in an agreement that could also include parts guarantees and training.

A diplomat who requested anonymity said separately that Morocco had received the first batch of armed drones it ordered in May. Ethiopia plans to acquire it but the status of the order is less clear, the envoy said.

font-size: medium;">Sources did not say how many drones were involved in the deal or provide financial details.

Ukraine and Turkey's NATO partner Poland have also ordered armed drones, which military experts say are cheaper than market rivals made by Israel, China, and the United States.

Official data showed Turkey's defense and aviation exports increased sharply to Morocco and Ethiopia in the past two months but gave no details on drone sales.

The Ethiopian military and the prime minister's office did not respond to requests for comment on the matter.

The Moroccan government did not immediately comment. Its military does not discuss procurement openly.

Turkey's main defense procurement and development agency did not immediately respond to a request for written comment. Drone maker Bayraktar, whose TB2 model was designed by President Tayyip Erdogan's son-in-law, also did not respond to a request for comment.

Export activities of military equipment such as Turkish armed drones to two African countries skyrocketed. The value of growth is not kidding, starting from 51 million to 78.6 million US dollars.

The growing interest in armed drones is a boost for the Turkish government in its efforts to increase exports to help alleviate its economic problems and underscores the growing importance of armed drones in modern warfare. Defense and aviation exports to Ethiopia rose to 51 million dollars in the first three months of this year, from 203,000 dollars in the same period last year, with spikes in August and September, according to the Turkish Exporters Assembly.

Exports to Morocco were $78.6 million in the same period, with $62 million in September alone, compared with $402,000 last year

Several media outlets in Morocco have reported the arrival of armed drones from Turkey.

A Facebook page identifying itself as an unofficial Moroccan military forum reported last month that the first TB2 drone from an order of 13 had arrived from Turkey and that the armed forces had sent officers to Turkey for pilot training.

Overall Turkey's defense and aviation exports reached 2.1 billion dollars in the first three quarters of this year, up 39% from 1.5 billion dollars last year, according to the Turkish Exporters Assembly.

The Turkish military used drones last year in Syria as well as in Libya, where Ankara supports the Tripoli-based government against eastern forces backed by Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt.

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