KYIV, Ukraine – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on Thursday agreed to expand the supply of one of the Ukrainian military’s most sophisticated weapons, a Turkish-made long-range armed drone The production unit, first used in combat in Ukraine last fall, angered Russian officials.
However, during his visit to Kyiv, largely to show support for Ukraine, Mr. Erdogan also offered to play the role of mediator between Russia and Ukraine in the conflict as he crossed the line between supporting Ukraine and Ukraine. Ukraine and break the complicated relationship with Russia.
“We are ready to do our part to end the crisis between the two friendly countries of which Turkey is a neighbor on the Black Sea,” Erdogan said.
So far, no government has brought him up on the idea.
Turkey is a member of NATO but also maintains economic and military-industrial ties with Russia. At the same time, the two countries are on opposite sides in two Middle Eastern wars, in Syria and Libya, and in the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the South Caucasus.
Erdogan’s decision to arm Ukraine and support it diplomatically is emerging as another complicating factor in this interweaving of cooperation and conflict with Russia. Erdogan on Thursday said he wanted to “de-escalate tensions rather than add fuel to the fire” of the conflict.
Turkey sold Ukraine a Bayraktar TB2 drone that the Ukrainian military first used in its war with Russia-backed separatists last October, destroying a separatist cannon. it’s kilometers. The missile attack showed the military balance in the war in eastern Ukraine with NATO-supplied weapons, angering Russia.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister, Aleksei Reznikov, said on Thursday that Turkey had agreed to localize drone production at a factory outside Kyiv. The Ukrainian version of Bayraktar will fly with domestically produced engines. Mr. Reznikov said that Turkey will also buy some drones of this type for its armed forces.
The site will also become a training center for Ukrainian drone pilots, Reznikov said. Mr. Reznikov said that although the countries had previously agreed to localize production, an agreement formalizing the agreement would be signed on Thursday.
Mr. Zelensky praised the drone deal, clearly a disdain for Russia, which for many years opposed Ukraine’s acquisition of Turkish drone technology and last fall did. made an urgent request that NATO countries stop arming Ukraine.
“Today, an agreement was reached to significantly expand the production of potentially lethal drones by the Baykar company in Ukraine,” he said, referring to the aircraft maker. Turkish riders produce Bayraktar TB2. “This is new technology, new work and strengthens Ukraine’s defenses.”
Erdogan has military deals with both Ukraine and Russia, including the controversial purchase of Russian air defense systems, despite Turkey’s membership in NATO. The purchase of that system, called the S-400, brings Russian technology into the territory of a key Western ally, angering US officials.
Turkey and Ukraine are also signing a free trade agreement to increase trade between the two countries to 10 billion USD from about 7 billion USD today. The countries have also signed agreements to increase cooperation between their police forces and an agreement for closer coordination between defense ministries.
Safak Timur and Carlotta Gall Reporting contributors from Istanbul, Turkey.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/03/world/erdogan-turkey-ukraine.html Erdogan arrives in Kyiv and reiterates support for Ukraine’s sovereignty