Turkey has sold to Ukraine significantly more military drones than previously reported, and new deals on the supply of this type of weapon will be concluded in the near future. Bloomberg reported this, citing several officials and one of the leaders of the Istanbul defense company Baykar, which has close ties with the Turkish government.
Baykar, an arms manufacturer based in Istanbul, has sold dozens of drones to Ukraine since 2019, together with control stations and missiles, according to several officials and an executive at a Turkish defense company with close government ties. Orders for at least two dozen more drones are under way.
The Bayraktar TB2 drones, fired for the first time in October to destroy mobile artillery in the occupied Donbas, are prized items in a budding relationship that’s made Turkey one of Kyiv’s most important backers.
The drone sales to Ukraine have stirred fury in Moscow and strained Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s relationship with Putin. That’s even as they have sought to manage their interests in conflicts in Syria, Libya and the Caucasus.
Putin condemned Ukraine’s “provocative” deployment of the attack drones in a phone call with Erdogan on Friday, according to a Kremlin statement. In a Nov. 19 phone call, Lavrov warned Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to take Moscow’s concern over Turkey’s “militarization” of Ukraine “as seriously as possible.”