Green energy investments will have an important share in cooperation between Turkey and Saudi Arabia, said the Turkish energy minister.

ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) gestures as he welcomes Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman (R) at the presidential complex, Ankara, Turkey, June 22, 2022. – ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images

Ezgi Akin. August 28, 2023

ANKARA — Turkey and Saudi Arabia signed a memorandum of understanding to advance the two countries’ cooperation in mining, Turkey’s Energy Minister Alparslan Bayraktar announced Monday.

Bayraktar said the deal is particularly aiming to advance cooperation between Turkey and Saudi Arabia on mining of critical minerals. “One of the most important components of this memorandum involves cooperation on critical mines that are required in new technologies such as electric vehicles or solar solar panel technologies,” he told Turkey’s public broadcaster, adding that the scope of the deal involves mining of critical minerals in Turkey and Saudi Arabia as well as third countries. 

The memorandum was signed on the sidelines of Saudi Arabia’s Industry and Mineral Resources Minister Bandar Ibrahim Alkhorayef’s visit to Turkey. Alkhorayef also met with Turkey’s Trade Minister Omer Bolat and other high-level officials during his visit on Monday.

In a tweet after the meeting, Bayraktar said the deal paved the way for wide-scale cooperation between the two countries, particularly in mining.

Monday’s deal was signed as a followup to a series of deals reached on energy and oil cooperation between Ankara and Riyadh during Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to the kingdom last month. 

Bayraktar said the two countries also want to expand cooperation in the green energy field. “We saw that Saudi Arabia was particularly interested in green hydrogen, solar and wind energy,” he said.

Erdogan traveled to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar in late July as part of his first regional tour after his reelection in May, largely in a bid to lure foreign investments to Turkey amid the country’s acute foreign currency crunch. The visit culminated in more than a dozen deals and memorandums reached between Turkey and oil-rich Gulf monarchies. 

Speaking on Monday, Bayraktar said energy cooperation makes up one of the largest shares in the deals Turkey signed with Saudi Arabia and the UAE. “We have signed important agreements particularly in the energy and oil fields with Saudi and the UAE, ” he said, 

He noted that Turkey’s new energy deals with the UAE are worth $29.7 billion of the more than $50 billion in deals signed during Erdogan’s visit.

“We would like to turn these deals into concrete project-based agreements and partnership deals as soon as possible,” he added.

In addition to energy cooperation, defense ties between Turkey and the kingdom have also seen rapid improvement following Erdogan’s trip. Turkey’s Deputy Defense Minister Celal Sami Tufekci traveled to Riyadh for the first meeting of the trilateral defense mechanism between Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Pakistan. The two countries signed a series of defense cooperation deals on the sidelines of Erdogan’s visit, including a more than $3 billion agreement between the Turkish drone manufacturing giant Baykar and the kingdom’s state-owned Saudi Arabia Military Industries.