Automatically translated from Basque, translation may contain errors. More information here. Elhuyarren itzultzaile automatikoaren logoa

Drones from Turkey, from Kurdistan to Tigray, the Sahara and Ukraine

Turkiako presidente Erdogan Bayraktar drone bat sinatzen.

Drone production is an emerging industry and Turkey has become one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of war drones. Your star product is Bayraktar TB2. A drone that can take off, land and navigate autonomously, but that depends on a human operator to launch laser-guided bombs. It's cheaper than other models with similar characteristics, about $5 million, but equally "effective." The company Baykar creates and markets. The owner is Selçuk Bayraktar, Turkish boss Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Bayraktar TB2 is playing an important role in some conflicts. Today we see them in Ukraine, Libya has helped to destroy Russian air defence systems and Morocco has used them against the Western Sahara Polisario Front forces, among others.

The Turkish army launched in 2016 to fight the Kurds of the PKK. Since then, its presence has spread throughout the world and Turkey has made it an instrument of its foreign policy. "I'm going in Africa, everybody's talking to me about drones," Erdogan said on his tour of the continent in late 2021. The three countries he visited – Togo, Angola and Nigeria – joined this club of countries with military drones in a few months. In Africa alone, Turkey has supplied drones to more than 10 countries.

A Bayraktar TB2 can be seen at the military base of the Lithuanian Air Navy in Siaulia in July 2022. Photo: AFP


Ethiopia was one of the Bayraktar TB2 drones it received in 2021. When the rebels in the Tigray region headed towards the capital, they successfully used it to confront and resend. "It is surprising to think that Turkish drones have made a difference between the fall or survival of an African nation's regime. These unmanned aircraft reach the point where they decide the fate of nations," says James Rogers, professor of war studies at the Danish Institute of Advanced Studies.

In October of the same year, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev made a photograph of him, the winner, along with a Israeli trucker Harop drone. This drone has been instrumental in bringing Armenia’s armies into the Nagorno Caravakh conflict. Military analysts say that the fight of this drone accelerated the failure of the Armenians. In September 2023, the 24-hour bombing was enough for the powerful Azerbaijan to remove Nagorno Karabakh, also known as the Republic of Artsakh, from the map and provoke the greatest exodus from Europe in recent decades.

Earlier this year, the company Baykar started building a plant near Kiev, with the intention of finishing works by the end of the year, with the aim of creating about 120 drones a year. Whether production will be directed towards the construction of the new and improved TB2 or TB3 model remains unclear. Baykar currently has contracts with over 30 countries around the world.

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