Ankara, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) – The roaring success of Turkish drones on the battlefield of Iraq, Libya, and Syria is changing the dynamics of how the Middle East wars are being fought whereas the regional geopolitical ambitions are being realised with the help of drones.
Over the years the Middle East has been an ideal place to test the capabilities of the armed drone to get them in use. This is particularly true in countries like Libya and Syria. However, Turkey stands on the top in terms of benefiting from the success of drones in war zones compared to any other country.
Ben Wallace, the Uk defence Secretary also acknowledged last year that Turkish drones have proved to be game-changing on various battlefields. He particularly mentioned the success of the Bayraktar TB2 UAV’s drones.
The TB-2 UAVs were used in abundance to fight against the Emirati-backed warlord khalifa Haftar when he was all set to capture the Libyan capital Tripoli and topple the government of National Accord.
The Rise of Turkish drones
Francis Fukuyama, an American political economist and scientist said that Ukraine using Turkey-made drones in the region could prove to be a complete game-changer for the peace within the region.
Francis Fukuyama made the point that the US decision to impose embargoes in 1975 along with NATO allies rejecting the sales of predators and reapers led Turkey to start producing aerial vehicles domestically and these drones are the proof of that.
He said in a statement “Drones are however not that hard to manufacture and the most recent Turkish ones are quite impressive. The TB2 can stay aloft for 24 hours and perform both reconnaissance and attack missions”.
MIT scholar Selcuk Bayraktar is the leading two biggest drone manufacturers in Turkey and has sold its bayraktar TB2 drone to several allied countries including Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Turkish aerospace industries.
As per Fukuyama’s study, Turkey’s use of a drone has brought significant changes in the land power similar to the changes produced by the British battleship.
The rise of turkey-made drones proves to be a potential game-changer as it was used by the Azerbaijan army last year to overpower Armenia’s army in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The manufacturers are also aiming to launch Simsek drones which can also play critical roles in the battlefield.
Use of Turkish-made drones in the Ukraine-Russia war
As the Russian forces were creating pressure from all sides on Ukraine, Ukraine recently used a Turkish-made aerial vehicle known as TB2 to destroy the howitzer used by pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas region.
💬Головнокомандувач ЗС України генерал Валерій Залужний:
Прицільне знищення реактивної системи залпового вогню противника. Байрактари в дії!
Сотні врятованих життів наших співгромадян, передусім мирних жителів! pic.twitter.com/3vKX2eZBeY
— Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) March 12, 2022
The Kremlin raises its concerns over Turkey’s bold decision to sell strike drones to Ukraine. The Kremlin believes that Turkish-made drones are destabilising the situation in eastern Ukraine.
Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister said that Russia was investigating reports that suggest that Ukraine has employed Turkish-made drones to disrupt the peace of eastern Ukraine.
It is to be remembered that Russian President Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea in 2014 and divided the region and gave them the status of a separatist state. Since then Russia has had complete control over these regions. This is also one of the reasons which disrupted the peace in the region for the last few years.
Turkey as being one of the NATO members has largely criticised Russia’s move of annexing Crimea and shown its support for Ukraine. On the other side, the United States and the United General assembly also believe that the Russian move of annexing Crimea was illegal.
Since 2014, more than 13,000 people have been killed in the fight between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists in Donbas.
Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a war against the Ukrainian government by accusing them of killing more than 13,000 people in eastern Ukraine.
The Russian President said that they are launching a special military operation to denazify and demilitarise the Ukrainian government to protect the people in the separatist region.
UK defence chief on Turkish-made drones
Ben Wallace, Britain’s defence secretary stressed the game-changing role of Turkish drones in modern warfare in the Middle East and North Africa.
He said “ we need to look at the lessons of others. Look how Turkey has been operating in Libya where it has used TB2 since mid-2019, those UAVs have conducted intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and targeting operations against the frontline”.
He further added “ In July last year they stuck the Libyan national army-controlled jufrah airfield destroying several command and control nodes as well as two transport aircraft”
At the conference, Ben Wallace announced that the UK had signed a 65 million pounds deal to start building its first three protector drones.