Morocco and Turkey bring positions closer on military cooperation

The Kingdom could count on Turkey to achieve its objectives regarding the manufacture of military weapons on its territory; this was raised in a congratulatory message from King Mohamed VI to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

PHOTO/FILE  -   Moroccan tank

In a letter sent during the Turkish bank holidays, the Moroccan monarch expressed his determination to continue working with the Turkish president to strengthen the constructive and cooperative relations that exist between the two countries to diversify their territories, thereby strengthening the friendship between the two peoples and creating concrete paths towards a bond of mutual respect.

In this regard, Turkish Vice President Fuyat Okte recently announced "discussions on bilateral cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, education and defence", and in this regard, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan invited King Mohammed VI for an official visit to Turkey. The defence sector may therefore become a new meeting place for cooperation between the two countries. Morocco is willing to establish industrial arms production units on its territory. For this major challenge, the Kingdom was able to rely on Turkish military expertise by purchasing the Bayraktar UAV from Turkey. In his "Republic Day" speech, King Mohammed VI congratulated and wished President Recep Tayyip Erdogan good health and further progress and prosperity for the Turkish people.

PHOTO/FILE- Morocco's King Mohamed VI (L) with Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R)

King Mohammed VI also took the opportunity to reiterate his desire to continue working with the Turkish president and further strengthen bilateral cooperation between Morocco and Turkey. Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again threatened to block NATO candidates Sweden and Finland. "Until our country's commitments are fulfilled, we will maintain our principled position," Erdogan told parliament in Ankara on 1 October. "We are closely watching whether Sweden and Finland fulfil their obligations and, of course, the final decision will depend on our great parliament," he added, without elaborating.

Ankara initially said it would veto the two countries' membership of the Western alliance, and Erdogan accused them of harbouring Kurdish fighters operating in Turkey and promoting what he called terrorism. After the talks, Erdogan said he would withdraw his objections, but said he could still block their bid for membership if they failed to deliver on their promises, some of which were not disclosed.

PHOTO/Turkish Presidency Press Service via AP - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the Turkish Parliament in Ankara, Turkey

NATO membership must be approved by all 30 NATO member states. So far, only Hungary and Turkey have not submitted their membership applications to their parliaments for approval. The historic changes in Sweden and Finland take place against the backdrop of Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine in February and other aggressive actions by the Kremlin in the region. Public opinion in the Nordic countries quickly turned in favour of joining NATO after the invasion.

Last Wednesday, a ministerial meeting chaired by King Mohammed VI adopted a draft decree establishing the post of military attaché at Morocco's diplomatic missions in Ankara and New Delhi, adding that the role of the military attaché is to assist the ambassador in bilateral military affairs and protective relations and that he may have representatives specialising in different areas, such as the army, navy or air force.

PHOTO/MAP - Mohamed VI, King of Morocco

Morocco's military budget has grown significantly in recent years and already represents 4% of the country's Gross Domestic Product. The Kingdom purchased several types of weapons to strengthen its army against any possible Algerian attack. The creation of these two new attachés in the Indian and Turkish embassies will therefore enable Morocco to strengthen its cooperation with the countries of these two potential military partners.

During the ministerial meeting, Morocco also approved a draft law aimed at "modernising and perfecting the legal arsenal related to civilian firearms". According to the committee's communiqué, an electronic register will be created to strengthen control over the purchase, sale and possession of weapons by civilians. A different text was adopted at this weekly meeting. This includes the control of imports and exports of civilian and military goods and services.