The sensational statement of the Turkish leader was made on the eve of the meeting with the Russian ruler.
Russian ruler Vladimir Putin expressed his desire to establish in the Russian Federation the production of Bayraktar combat drones, which have become one of the symbols of Ukrainian resistance to Russian military aggression. Such an unexpected statement by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was circulated by the Turkish media against the backdrop of reports of an upcoming meeting in Sochi. Perild.com tells what might be behind him.
“Putin told me that he wants to work with Baykar”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the ruler of the aggressor country, Vladimir Putin, during a recent meeting in Tehran, expressed a desire to establish cooperation with the Turkish manufacturer of unmanned aerial vehicles Bayraktar TB2. This was reported by the Turkish media, in particular, CNN Turk and Haber 7.
“Putin told me that he wants to work with Baykar,” Erdogan said at a meeting of the Central Executive Committee of the ruling Justice and Development Party, according to the media, noting that the UAE also announced its desire to build a factory for the production of Turkish drones on its territory.
At the same time, the Russian propaganda media presented this news in such a way that Erdogan himself is almost begging Putin to build drones together. So, for example, Life.ru writes that Bayraktar failed in Russia’s war against Ukraine and “without further cooperation with Russia, the production of current-generation drones and the development of promising ones are virtually impossible.”
Bayraktar TB2 has been in service with Turkey since 2014. UAVs can be used both day and night, they are equipped with laser guidance systems. The combat load of one device consists of four missiles with a range of up to eight kilometers, and for some modifications – up to 16.
Turkish combat drones have proven themselves in the Karabakh war in 2020. Military experts then said that it was the presence of Turkish Bayraktar on the side of Azerbaijan that became one of the main reasons for quickly defeating Armenia, which was helped by Russia.
The main buyer of drones is Ukraine – purchases of Turkish drones began in 2019. In early February, Ukraine signed an agreement with Turkey expanding the production of drones on Ukrainian territory. At the end of last year, Bloomberg wrotethat the Kremlin is “furious” about the deal between Kyiv and Ankara.
In 2022, Bayraktar became one of the main symbols of Ukrainian resistance to Russian aggression and still remains an inspiration for folk art thanks to the successful destruction of Russian military equipment and personnel from the first days of a full-scale invasion.
The Ukrainian Armed Forces uses the Bayraktar TB2 in both strike and reconnaissance operations. So, among other things, he helps to correct the fire from other Ukrainian weapons, as was the case with Serpent Island or the Moscow ship.
One of the evidence of the successful use of the Bayraktar Armed Forces can be considered the regular reports of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation on their “destruction” – in the reports of the occupiers, they have already “killed” at least half as many Turkish drones as Ukraine has.
What is behind Erdogan’s words
Haluk Bayraktar, chief executive of Turkey’s Baykar Makina, said he would never allow the sale of his drones to the Russian Federation. He added that he fully supports Ukraine in its struggle for sovereignty and independence, and for Baykar – “great pride to be a symbol of Ukraine’s resistance.”
“There are strategic relations between Turkey and Ukraine, especially in the field of aviation and space. Turkey supports Ukraine with armed drone technology. We have not transferred or supplied anything to the Russian Federation. We would never do this,” – spoke he July 19 in an interview with CNN.
It is noteworthy that Baykar did not accept six million dollars collected at the end of May by the Lithuanian television channel Laisves TV for a drone for the Armed Forces of Ukraine – the drone was transferred to Ukraine free of charge, and the money was sent to humanitarian aid. Turkey has already donated three Bayraktars to Ukraine before.
So, why did Erdogan make such a statement now?
On the eve it became known that the Turkish leader will make a one-day visit to Sochi on August 5 to meet with Putin, whom, by the way, he publicly humiliated in Tehran, forcing him to wait a minute in front of journalists. It is also noteworthy that these shots were distributed by the administration of the President of Turkey.
The parties will discuss, as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on July 27, military-technical cooperation. Peskov did not give a specific answer to the question of whether cooperation on the production of Bayraktar TB2 attack drones would be discussed, but noted that this issue had been discussed before.
Turkey pledged to guarantee the security of Ukrainian grain, and Russia’s breach of the deal on the first day of the signing of the agreement overshadowed Erdogan’s diplomatic successes and provoked sharp criticism of Ankara due to the lack of condemnation of Russian crimes.
Senior Analyst at the Center for Contemporary Turkey Studies Evgenia Gaber thinksthat the transfer of military technology to Russia looks like a very unlikely and too risky strategy for Ankara, since Russian military support will violate all NATO red lines and Turkey may once again be left without a chance to get F-16 fighters. In addition, Ankara did not share Bayraktar production technologies even with its allies.
It is hard to imagine how Turkey presents the supply of attack drones to a country with which it is on opposite sides of the barricades in a number of regional conflicts – Syria, Libya and the Caucasus.
The expert believes that Erdogan uses a well-known diplomatic trick – the principle of escalation for the sake of de-escalation, since agreements in the military-technical sphere usually like silence.
“It can be assumed that the following statements – about refusing to supply Russian UAVs or jointly produce them – should cause a new wave of gratitude to Turkey for its commitment to strategic partnership with Ukraine and cooperation with the West,” the analyst said.