Jul 06 2018

Turkey to supply military drones to Ukraine

Turkey and Ukraine signed a memorandum on the supply of unmanned aircraft systems to Ukraine, Ukranian news site Unwire reported the press service of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC) as saying in a statement on Wednesday.

According to the statement, Turkey plans to supply drones to Ukraine and purchase from Ukraine AN-178 planes, a short-range medium-airlift military transport aircraft.

"The parties have agreed to develop cooperation in the direction of unmanned weapons systems and discussed the possibility of creating a joint design office for the development of new engines for armored vehicles," the statement read.

“Russia will be not amused,” said Ali Özkök, a Eurasian expert on Twitter about the deal. 

Relations between Turkey and Russia nearly collapsed after Turkish fighter jets shot down a Russian SU-24 warplane near the Syria-Turkey border in late 2015. But since Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan publicly apologised for the incident and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s support for Turkey during the July 2016 coup attempt, the two countries have worked on mending ties. 

The two countries along with Iran launched the Astana process in 2017, a mechanism to find a diplomatic solution to the war in Syria. Russia and Turkey also cooperate in energy policies and Turkey’s first nuclear plant is being constructed in a joint Russian-Turkish project with Russian energy company Rosatom the majority stakeholder. Turkey decided to purchase Russian S-400 missile defence system despite its NATO allies’ objections and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said in June that that he had made an offer to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for joint production of the next-generation S-500 missile defence system. 

However, the two countries’ interests conflict in the Black Sea as Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 shifted the strategic balance in the region in its favour and increased Turkey’s concerns about Crimean Tatars.