The Turkish government is set to finalize two major naval export deals totaling between $1.5 billion and $2 billion – the largest ever export deal for Turkey’s local industry, reports Defense News. Turkey is selling four Turkish-made stealth frigates to Ukraine as part of a larger framework agreement for bilateral defense cooperation. As part of the agreement, Turkey’s state-controlled Defense Technologies Engineering (STM) will also transfer technology to Ukraine for the co-production of Turkish armed drones, worth approximately €1 billion. The production of the ships will potentially happen in both countries, similar to a previous contract Turkey has with Pakistan.
Turkey and Ukraine have been growing alarmingly closer in recent months. In October, the two Black Sea neighbors signed a military cooperation deal during a separate visit by Ukrainian President Zelensky to Ankara. They also signed “a declaration of good will regarding defense industry projects, and two agreements on economic cooperation and trade.” The meeting came after Ukraine purchased several combat drones from Turkish defense company Baykar, owned by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s in-laws, delivered an S-125 Pechora missile system to Turkey, and declared an intention to purchase 48 Turkish-made Bayraktar armed drones.
In a joint deal in February, the two countries agreed that Turkey would provide 205 million liras ($25.8 million) to Ukraine for the country’s “military needs”. The two countries stated, “The Republic of Turkey supports Ukraine’s perspective for membership to the North Atlantic Alliance and welcomes Ukraine’s recognition as an Enhanced Opportunities Partner.”