Bayraktar TB2 drone maker buys land in Ukraine; Russia says the legitimate target

The timing of the revelation by Ambassador of Ukraine to Turkey maybe a suspect as Ukraine might be fearing that the drones may not be built after Erdogan's visit to Russia. Russia is capable of supplying engines for Turkish drones.

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India, portal publishing news and current affairs. He holds an M.B.A in International Business from the Maharishi University of Management, Iowa, USA. Twitter: @chackojoseph *views are Personal.

The Turkish company “Baykar Makina” (“Baykar Makina”) or Baykar Defense has bought land in Ukraine for the production of Bayraktar drones, the Ambassador of Ukraine to Turkey Vasyl Bodnar announced in an interview with the RBC-Ukraine agency, published yesterday.

The owner of “Baykar” created his company in Ukraine. This company has already acquired land; a plant project has been developed. All plans are intended to be implemented to the end, Bodnar said.

A significant part of the models that will be produced at this plant will have Ukrainian-made components. These can be engines, other spare parts, wheels, and many other things that are high-tech in our country and can be used for these aircraft, he said. 

The project must be implemented to the end since it was almost a personal commitment of the company’s owners to make this production in Ukraine, he added.

On July 19, the Ukrainian cabinet approved a draft law on ratifying the agreement with Turkey for cooperation in high technologies, aviation and space, which will allow the construction of a factory for the production and service of Bayraktar drones in Ukraine.

On February 3, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Kyiv and signed a framework agreement for cooperation in high technology, aviation and space. Other agreements were signed on free trade, cooperation in youth policy, taxation, memoranda of understanding on standardization and quality, customs, etc.

Selçuk Bayraktar, Baykar’s chief technology officer, married Sümeyye Erdoan, Recep Tayyip Erdoan’s daughter, in 2016 and has a child with her.

Kyiv first bought Turkish drones in April 2021. In early February 2022, Baykar Makina was allowed to build a plant for the production of UAVs in Ukraine. Less than a month later, a special Russian military operation began.

Baykar Makina will never sell drones to Russia

Haluk Bayraktar, CEO of the company, speaking to the media, said he is proud that the company’s drones have become one among the symbols of Ukrainian resistance.

In a query over possible sales to Russia, the CEO said this has never happened and never will. He said he supports the resistance of Ukraine, its sovereignty and the fight for independence.

A fundraiser for Ukraine’s Bayraktar TB2 attack drone has started in Norway. It is planned to collect the money and transfer them to the aid fund at the Embassy of Ukraine. 

In May, Lithuanian volunteer Andrius Tapinas announced attempts to raise 5 million euros for the purchase of the Bayraktar striker. Three UAVs were handed over to Ukraine free of charge by the company.

This month, the Turkish President said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had shown interest in cooperation with Baykar. Subsequently, he went on a visit to Russia and cut many deals, including payment in Rubles.

Frontier India has previously written that the Russian order if any, would change the fortunes of the Baykar company, which barely has orders despite high decibels of favourable press generated in conflicts of other countries.

But authorities say Turkey is the 4th largest manufacturer of combat drones worldwide. The company of Erdogan’s son-in-law supplies TB2 drones to the armies of Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Qatar and, Libya, Poland. A year ago, in May 2021, Warsaw purchased 24 UAVs from Turkey. However, the company officially says it has only had just 350 + orders in a decade. 

The timing of the revelation by Ambassador of Ukraine to Turkey maybe a suspect as Ukraine might be fearing that the drones may not be built after Erdogan’s visit to Russia. Russia is capable of supplying engines for Turkish drones.

Legitimate target

Moscow has repeatedly pointed out to Ankara the inadmissibility of such supplies. Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan the use of Turkish drones by Ukraine.

Russian Ambassador to Turkey Aleksey Yerkhov also noted in April of this year that the Russian society is sensitive to the delivery of Turkish Bayraktar TB2 UAVs to Ukraine, which, however, become a legitimate target for the Russian army.

Turkey does not recognize the Republic of Crimea as a Russian region and refuses to recognize the independence of the DPR and LPR while advocating the settlement of the conflict in Ukraine.

Ankara did not join the sanctions against Russia based on the economic interests of Turkey itself, while the Erdogan administration very persistently imposed its mediation on the negotiation track on Russia and Ukraine and even hosted the Russian and Ukrainian delegations on March 29. The result was not crowned with success, and after the Istanbul meeting, the dialogue between Moscow and Kyiv was interrupted.

According to various estimates, since the beginning of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, from 90 to 100 Bayraktar TB2 have been shot down by air defense systems of the Russian Army and the Armed Forces of the DPR and LPR.

Ukraine has been buying Turkish drones since at least 2019 when Kyiv bought six Bayraktar drones. The exact number of all purchased drones is unknown, but last year some media reported on at least ten combat Bayraktars acquired by Kyiv since 2019. This was reported by Bloomberg with reference to sources in Baykar Makina. “Since 2019, Turkey has sold dozens of drones to Ukraine along with control stations and missiles.”

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