Delivery of Turkish drones to Ukraine continue as planned: Official

Delivery of Turkish drones to Ukraine continue as planned: Official

Sevil Erkuş - ANTALYA
Delivery of Turkish drones to Ukraine continue as planned: Official

Turkey has been delivering Turkish Bayraktar drones to Ukraine as scheduled according to the requirements of the deal and new delivery has nothing to do with the objection of Russia, the country’s top defense official said on Dec. 4.

“We sold a lot of [armed unmanned aerial vehicles] UAVs to Ukraine. Now, there is no such thing as selling while there is tension with Russia. It was a process. There were batch agreements that were discussed from the beginning,” İsmail Demir, the head of Turkey’s Defense Industries Presidency, told a group of journalists.

He was asked about media reports in Ukraine that Kiev will buy another batch of Turkish drones for its armed forces next year amid Russia’s increasing unease towards Ankara due to the arms deal.

Tensions between Ukraine and Russia have been high since the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula by Russia in 2014. In a phone conversation, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, that Ukraine is using Turkish-made drones in the conflict zone in the Donbass region, according to Kremlin.

“Ukraine had certain production and investment projects. As a requirement of previous agreements, this is the progress of the project that has been talked about from the beginning. It has nothing to do with the latest developments,” Demir said.

One should not have the understanding that Turkey is sending UAVs to Ukraine due to the tension, he emphasized.

Turkey to protect privacy for technology transfer for S-400

The deal between Ankara and Moscow for S-400 air defense systems envisaged two systems where the second system foresees a specific area of cooperation, the official said.

When asked about a statement by Aleksandr Miheyev, the director-general of Rosoboronexport, Russia’s military export company, that they have started technology transfer for the production of some parts of the S-400 air defense system in Turkey, Demir refrained to give details and stressed confidentiality.

“One of the main elements of the second system was technology transfer. Since such systems are strategic systems, every country wants to protect its privacy. As Turkey, we also think that we should be a little more secretive. When systems are produced, we explain them more clearly,” he said.

Talks possible with Russia for MMU

When recalled the remarks of Erdoğan that Turkey and Russia might cooperate on fighter jets, Demir said, “There are many items of cooperation in our talks with the Russian federation – including some issues related to the MMU.”

“There is an engine type we chose as the MMU will come out of the hangar in 2023, there are certain systems. But as time goes on, it will be a step-by-step process, just like changing, developing, renewing, or localizing certain systems. In this process, there may be negotiations with the Russian side regarding certain systems to be localized. There aren’t many details right now,” he stated.

Turkey is working on the development of the National Combat Aircraft, or MMU, which is aimed to be a fifth-generation domestically designed stealth fighter jet. Russia is in talks with Turkey and has offered its help in developing advanced fighter jets, Dmitry Shugayev, the head of the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), told RIA news agency in November.

Demir noted that there is no development and no contact with the U.S. currently on the sale of Patriot defense systems to Turkey, and the talks on the F-35 issue is carried out by the Turkish Defense Ministry because he and his agency are subject to CATSAA sanctions.