Turkish defense industry cautious about arms sales to Ukraine

ANKARA, TURKEY – The top of Turkey’s arms manufacturing company mentioned the nation must be vigilant about delivering extra weapons to Ukraine, after months of utilizing Turkish-made drones. She performed a vital function in protection towards Russian invasion.

“We’re extra cautious,” mentioned Ismail Demir, head of Turkey’s Protection Trade Company and a senior official in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authorities.

Feedback present how Turkey is rising Enjoying either side The battle between Russia and Ukraine, aside from another members of NATO Ship extra weapons to Ukraine Hoping to cease Moscow’s ongoing offensive within the east of the nation. Whereas Western nations moved to isolate Russia, Turkey maintained an open line with Moscow, Welcoming the stream of Russian cash and facilitate two rounds of Peace talks that ended with out an settlement.

I believe that Turkey is the one nation that may contact the 2 sides and invite them to the peace desk. How are you going to try this should you ship tens of 1000’s of weapons to 1 facet? Demir mentioned in an interview with the Wall Road Journal.

The Turkish UAV was Bayraktar TB-2 An energetic function within the preliminary Ukrainian resistance For the Russian invasion, the bombing of navy convoys and sinking warships. Ukrainians celebrated the drone’s success towards Russian forces and helped enhance Turkey’s standing within the West.

Turkey initially bought TB-2 drones to Ukraine in 2019, and the 2 nations signed a brand new settlement to ship extra plane, together with plans to collectively produce the drones, in February 2022.

We’ve got to have the ability to speak to either side, somebody needs to be shut sufficient to each events, to construct belief,” mentioned Ismail Demir, head of the Turkish Protection Trade Company.


Ahmed Deeb for The Wall Road Journal

A US official mentioned Turkey indicated in March that extra drones could be issued quickly. When requested whether or not Turkey continues to produce Ukraine with weapons, together with TB-2s, Mr. Demir mentioned: “There are issues that occur, however I’m not able to say, however we’re extra cautious.”

Ukrainian and Turkish officers declined to touch upon any additional shipments of the TB-2 drones. Turkish plane maker Baykar mentioned earlier in June that it might donate one of many drones to Lithuania after a bunch of Lithuanians raised greater than $6 million to purchase one for Ukraine.

Mr. Demir mentioned Turkey doesn’t hesitate to promote different varieties of tools, comparable to protecting tools, to Ukraine.

“We’ve got to have the ability to speak to either side, somebody needs to be shut sufficient to each events, to construct belief,” he mentioned.

“Our precedence is to be sure that peace prevails,” Mr. Demir mentioned.

Within the occupied areas of Ukraine, Russia distributes passports, teaches its copy of historical past, sends vans blowing up Kremlin propaganda. However getting folks to help the invader could be sophisticated. Thomas Grove experiences from the WSJ. Picture: Sergei Ilnitsky / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

Mr. Demir’s feedback got here as Ukrainian officers expressed concern that Turkey was regularly altering its angle towards Russia, after initially taking concrete steps to help the Ukrainian conflict effort within the early days of the invasion.

In current days, Ukraine accused Turkey Shopping for stolen wheat from Russia. A senior Ukrainian official mentioned Ukraine is asking itself: “Is Turkey altering its place?”

“Turkey’s pursuits come first for Turkey,” the senior Ukrainian official mentioned.

A Turkish official mentioned considerations concerning the nation altering its stance on the battle had been “unfounded”.

“We stand by Ukraine within the political, humanitarian and different fields,” the official mentioned.

The official additionally mentioned that Turkey was processing data supplied by Ukraine concerning the alleged stolen grain. The official mentioned that Russian authorities supplied paperwork that the cargo originated from Russia.

“It’s technically very troublesome to find out the geographical origin of the grain,” the official mentioned.

Mr. Erdogan has tried to take care of good relations with each Ukraine and Russia – two Black Sea neighbors which can be main exporters of products to Turkey. He made steps for her Either side are pleased and pleased.

Though Turkey has not imposed financial sanctions on Russia, it has denied Russian warships entry to the Black Sea and closed Turkish airspace to some Russian navy flights from Syria on the request of Ukraine.

Ukrainian officers initially welcomed the Turkish authorities’s function as a facilitator of the peace talks, saying that Turkey was a extra impartial location for the negotiations than its unique location in Belarus, the Russian ally that aided within the assault on Ukraine.

In current weeks, Turkey has additionally sought to dealer a deal that will assist export grain and different very important meals merchandise from Ukraine. As much as 20 million metric tons of grain have been trapped in Ukraine because of the Russian invasion, elevating fears of a worldwide meals disaster.

Turkey broke off the Western consensus on the Ukraine disaster when Erdogan determined in Could To dam the appliance of Sweden and Finland to affix NATO Due to fears of the presence of Kurdish militants within the two nations. The three nations are persevering with their negotiations to attempt to resolve the dispute this week.

Erdogan has all the time had a rare partnership with the Russian President

Russian President Vladimir PutinPermitting the acquisition of Russian weapons whereas sending Turkish forces to combat proxy wars towards Russia in Syria and Libya.

In current weeks, Mr. Erdogan has additionally known as for a brand new navy operation towards Kurdish militants in Syria, a measure prone to require Russian approval as a result of presence of Russian troopers in particular areas of Syria that Mr. Erdogan says is planning an assault.

The battlefield dynamic has additionally modified in Ukraine, with Russia making positive aspects within the east after failing to attain its early targets.

“When it turns into clear that there is probably not a direct victory, they’re beginning to get extra cautious,” mentioned Asli Aydintasbas, coverage fellow on the European Council on International Relations.

Turkey has more and more described this as a battle between the West and Russia and doesn’t wish to get caught up in it. She mentioned the logic of neutrality is stronger within the nation now than it was three or 4 months in the past.

write to Jared Malsin at jared.malsin@wsj.com

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