• The exercise is considered among the biggest war games in the world in the number of participating forces
  • Turkey was the guest country in AFED 2018, a major Saudi defense expo organized early this year

RIYADH: Saudi and Turkish military personnel have joined hands with a large number of military units from friendly countries to hold an international defense drill in Turkey.

Saudi troops have already arrived in Izmir on Turkey’s Aegean coast in a major move to impart training to the armed forces of the participating countries and to exchange experiences in combined and joint operations, including logistics and command control.

“The exercise is a multipartite and multinational military drill, which is considered among the biggest military exercises in the world in terms of the participating forces’ number and the diversity of the nature as well as the fields of the exercise,” said a SPA report quoting Rear Admiral Pilot Khalid bin Hussein Al-Assaf, military attache at the Saudi Embassy in Ankara on Sunday.

Erdogan Kok, Turkish ambassador to Saudi Arabia, told Arab News on Sunday: “I welcome the participation of Saudi troops in EFES 2018… this major military exercise with our friends and allies will help to exchange and share military experiences besides providing training for coordination in multi-nation joint defense operations.

“Being two important countries of our region and the Islamic world, Ankara and Riyadh closely work together toward preserving regional peace and security,” noted Kok, referring to relations between the two countries in sectors including defense. 

The envoy also said: “Turkey was the guest country in AFED 2018, a major Saudi defense expo organized here early this year.”

He said the strategic ties between Turkey and Saudi Arabia in the fields of defense and military cooperation are flourishing. 

Kok pointed out that “Turkey has developed its own defense industry that spans all military activities on land, at sea and in the air.” 

On a bilateral level, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have deep-rooted historical and cultural ties. They enjoy excellent relations in all fields and the two countries also closely cooperate in multilateral platforms. 

In this context, cooperation at the level of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation as well as at the High-Level Strategic Dialogue mechanism, which Turkey established in 2008 with the Gulf Cooperation Council, stand out in particular.

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