Turkish drone manufacturer Baykar has said it has not and will not supply its products to neighbouring Russia, as it expressed support for Ukraine in the ongoing war between the two countries.
Baykar has “not delivered or supplied” Russia with any drones, Baykar’s CEO Haluk Bayraktar said in an interview with CNN International on Tuesday.
Turkey, a maritime neighbour to Russia and Ukraine, maintains good ties with both countries and has stepped up as mediator since the beginning of the war in February. Ankara has criticized the Russian invasion of Ukraine and sold drones to Kyiv despite Russian objectives.
“We support Ukraine, we support its sovereignty, we support its (struggle) for its independence,” he said. “Turkey and Ukraine have a strategic level of relations, especially in the field of aerospace and defence. These are (the result of) years of effort.”
Ukraine has purchased at least 20 Bayraktar TB2 drones from Turkey in recent years, and has been using the armed UAVs effectively against Russian forces in the invasion that started on Feb. 24.
Ankara and Kyiv signed an agreement last year for the manufacturing of drones in Ukraine, increasing their military cooperation. A Ukrainian company has been providing the engines to various projects, especially after Canada’s embargo on Turkey over Ankara’s military actions in northern Syria.
“Turkey is supporting Ukraine with armed drone technology. We are procuring from Ukraine turbine engines for drones,” the CEO of Baykar, which has President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law as one of its directors, told CNN.
Some experts say that Ukraine is still getting deliveries of Turkish combat drones, but this has not been confirmed by Ankara.