Turkish arms sales to Azerbaijan catapulted ahead of Nagorno-Karabakh fighting - report
Turkey's military exports to its ally Azerbaijan have risen six-fold this year, with drone and other military equipment rising to $77 million last month, ahead of the country’s conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing exports data.
Azerbaijan bought $123 million in defence and aviation equipment from Turkey in the first nine months of 2020, according to data compiled by the Turkish Exporters' Assembly, Reuters said.
Turkey has said it will back Azerbaijan by any means necessary in taking back its separatist region of Nagorno Karabakh, where clashes with Armenia enter their third week in the biggest flare-up of the decades-long conflict in years.
The bulk of Azerbaijan’s purchases of drones, rocket launchers, ammunition and other weapons arrived after July, Reuters said, when border clashes between Armenian and Azeri forces prompted Ankara and Baku to conduct joint military exercises.
Sales in August jumped to $36 million from $278,880 in July, and September alone saw $77.1 million’s worth, according to data. Military sales to Azerbaijan in the first nine months of 2019 had totalled $20.7 million.
“Azerbaijan clearly turned to Turkey for help,” Istanbul-based defence analyst Turan Oğuz told Reuters, “and wasted no time realising that the threat would grow.”
“Ankara is very determined in providing Baku with its needs. The strong defence cooperation between Azerbaijan and Turkey is getting stronger by the day,’’ he added.