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Drone sale to Ethiopia could jeopardize Turkey-Egypt dialogue

Turkey risks derailing normalization talks with Egypt by selling armed drones to Ethiopia, in addition to coming under international fire should Ethiopia use the drones in the conflict in Tigray.
The Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drone is pictured on Dec. 16, 2019.
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Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drones, touted as a game-changer for Ankara’s allies in the Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh conflicts, appear bound for further showing in African skies, but not without the risk of complicating Turkey’s foreign ties, primarily its fledgling bid at fence-mending with Egypt. 

Ethiopia — long at loggerheads with Egypt over a giant dam on the Blue Nile — has reportedly joined Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria and Rwanda as a potential African buyer of the TB2 drones, manufactured by a company owned by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law and thus widely regarded as a family business. Reuters reported last week that Turkey had negotiated a deal with Ethiopia that could include also spare-part guarantees and training. Details remain unknown as both sides have kept silent on the issue. 

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