Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin yesterday underscored the importance of peace and stability in Albania for Turkey and the broader Balkans region.
Meeting with reporters in Albania’s capital of Tirana, Kalin cited cooperation between Turkey and Albania in the defence industry to stress that “peace and stability” in Albania equates to peace and stability in the surrounding region.
“So it is in our common interest to strengthen Albanian security authorities against terrorism, human trafficking, drug trafficking or similar crimes,” Kalin continued.
During his trip to Albania, Kalin met with Prime Minister Edi Rama to discuss bilateral relations and regional issues. The two parties held official talks to discuss preparations for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Albania in the coming months.
Albania and Turkey have deep historical roots and relations between them, Kalin told reporters, underlining the importance of contemporary discussions on trade, security cooperation and regional issues. He also highlighted work being carried out between Ankara and Albanian authorities in fighting the so-called Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
Ankara has accused FETÖ of orchestrating a long-running campaign to overthrow the Turkish state via infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary. Last week, the Turkish government marked the fifth anniversary of the 2016 defeated coup attempt, of which FETÖ is charged with having spearheaded.
Albania has long supported Turkey’s position against FETÖ, closing three FETÖ-linked schools in September 2020 and launching a money laundering investigation against the group in February this year.
“Turkey, Albania relations continue to gain new momentum by getting stronger every year,” added Kalin yesterday, “Our efforts to expand and deepen these relations in different areas will continue intensively after that.”
Kalin’s announcements coincide with the Albanian parliament’s decision to approve an additional budget of $9.7 million (€8.2 million) for the supply of Bayraktar TB-2 armed drones from Turkey. The decision follows in the footsteps of Poland, Ukraine, Qatar and Azerbaijan, who have all signed similar deals with Ankara in recent months.
Demand for Turkish drones has been increasing after they proved invaluable in high-intensity conflicts such as those in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh. In May, Poland became the first NATO member to buy Turkish drones after securing an agreement for 24 Bayraktar TB2 type unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Turkey and Albania signed an agreement to upgrade bilateral ties to a strategic partnership level on 6 January 2021.