(Photo Credit: AFP)
Turkish defense company Baykar announced on 28 October its plan to complete the construction of its drone manufacturing plant in Ukraine in two years, according to Baykar’s chief executive, Haluk Bayraktar.
Aerial drones supplied to Ukraine by the Turkish company have been integral in Kiev’s defense strategies against Russian forces in the past few weeks.
The Bayraktar TB2 drones became highly renowned for their success during the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict, gaining recognition to the extent that the Ukrainians even composed a song about it. Several EU nations also launched crowdfunding campaigns to purchase the drones.
As part of an agreement between Turkey and Ukraine, signed just before Russia’s mobilization on 24 February, Baykar agreed to build its second manufacturing plant in Ukraine.
Bayraktar told Reuters on 27 October, that Ankara’s plan to complete the construction of the manufacturing plant is “moving ahead,” he said on the sidelines of the SAHA defense expo in Istanbul.
“Right now we have architectural design. The detailed design phase is finished. And we will move ahead with construction actually … within two years we would like to finish it,” Bayraktar added.
Ukrainian ambassador to Turkey Vasyl Bodnar revealed the construction of the drone plant on Ukrainian territory back in August.
Turkey has remained neutral in the conflict, as Ankara has doubled its Russian oil imports for the current year and adopted the Russian Mir payment system, yet does not recognize Moscow’s annexed territories in Ukraine.
US media outlet Financial Times (FT) reported on 15 September that the US and EU have increased pressure on Turkey to impose sanctions on Russia, warning against cooperation between Ankara and Moscow.
However, following a recent western initiative to impose a price cap on countries importing Russian energy, Turkey has been involved in talks with the US on a potential agreement that will allow Ankara to purchase liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Washington.