Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are said to have expressed interest in working with Turkey on the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), reports said Tuesday.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin reportedly told his Turkish counterpart President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that his country was interested in cooperating with Baykar, the developer of the most famous Turkish combat drone, Bayraktar TB2.
This was reportedly discussed during a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) late Monday.
The news comes as a surprise given the fact that the Bayraktar TB2 UAV has actually earned itself fame after it destroyed a variety of Russian military gear from air defense missiles to howitzers and tanks.
This particular drone was used against Russian equipment and Russia-backed forces in neighboring Syria, as well as in Libya and Karabakh. It is now actively used by Ukraine’s army against the Russian military, making headlines on how successful the drone was in hunting enemy forces.
Ukrainian patriots even made an expletive-strewn hit song that mocked Russian troops, with the chorus "Bayraktar, Bayraktar."
Most recently, Baykar CEO Haluk Bayraktar, answering a question by CNN International about whether they would sell Bayraktar TB2s to Russia said they haven’t supplied anything to Russia and “they don’t do anything like that.”
“We support Ukraine’s fight for independence and sovereignty,” he said.
He added that the Bayraktar TB2s have become a symbol of the resistance of Ukraine and that they are proud to be part of this.
Meanwhile, Erdoğan reportedly also said the other offer came from the UAE. He said that the UAE offered to establish a Baykar factory in the Gulf country.
The TB2 – purchased by over 20 countries – is a 12-meter (40-foot) wingspan combat drone and can soar to 25,000 feet before swooping in to destroy tanks and artillery with laser-guided armor-piercing bombs.