Turkish defence industry chief says sector ready to support Azerbaijan

Turkey’s defence industry chief said on Friday that his sector was ready to help Azerbaijan, which has seen deadly border clashes with Armenia in the worst outbreak of hostilities between the two sides in years.

Azerbaijan, a close political ally of Turkey which it shares cultural and historical ties with, and Armenia remain in dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which broke away from Azerbaijan in 1991 with Armenian military support. Clashes broke out between the two countries’ forces at the border near Armenia’s Tavush and Azerbaijan’s Tovuz provinces on Sunday. At least 16 people, including an army general, have been killed in the fighting.

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar had reportedly said on Thursday that Armenia would be “buried under their own plot, and will absolutely pay for” the recent border clashes.

Defence Industry Director Ismail Demir said on Friday Turkey would help to modernise Azerbaijan’s army.

“Our defence industry, with all its experience, technology and capabilities, from our armed drones to our ammunition and missiles and our electronic warfare systems, is always at the disposal of Azerbaijan!” Demir said on Twitter.

Azerbaijan has recently acquired Turkish-made multiple-launch rocket systems (MLRS) and reportedly expressed interest in Turkey’s Bayraktar TB2 combat drone.

Demir said he met Azerbaijan’s deputy defence minister and air force commander Ramiz Tahirov in Ankara.

On Monday, the Armenian Foreign Ministry condemned Turkey´s unconditional support for Azerbaijan saying Ankara instigates instability in the region.