Montenegro is about to approve an agreement on closer defense industry ties with Turkey, which in recent years has become a global player in terms of the arms trade. The deal is designed to boost defense and military relations with Ankara.
The agreement, as reported by sources, relates to the "production and trade of defense goods and services, maintenance and logistical support". It also requires the sales of finished military and defense equipment produced through joint projects to third countries, and technology transfers and joint research.
According to the source, the Turkish and Montenegrin governments will form a joint commission to implement the agreement and select projects to carry them out jointly.
Turkey was not previously one of Montenegro's key partners when it comes to the arms trade, unlike the US, the UK or Norway, but such a relation has developed as Turkish business influence grows in Montenegro. More than 400 Turkish companies were registered in the country in 2017, compared to 76 in 2016, as reported by the official business register.
Montenegro's modest defense industry mostly relies on old factories from the Yugoslav era, which were mostly privatized in recent years. The sector includes the former state-owned TARA arms factory in Mojkovac, Poliex in Berane and a small Optel factory in the town of Bijelo Polje.
The new defense deal, through which “classified information, documents and commercially sensitive hardware and software will be transmitted through government-to-government diplomatic channels,” was likely reached during February’s visit of Montenegrin Defense Minister Predrag Boskovic to Ankara.
Boskovic met Turkey’s top defense officials and said cooperation between the two countries in defense would be a platform for future relations, and help with the modernization of Montenegro's armed forces.
Recently, Turkey also signed a similar agreement with Ukraine as well as a new multi-million deal with Pakistan.