Ukraine awaits delivery of more Turkish drones to defend against Russia

  • Turkey currently maintains an uncomfortable neutrality in the Ukraine war

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said on Wednesday that the country was ready to receive Stinger and Javelin missiles from abroad, as well as another shipment of Turkish drones.

Several Western countries have committed to supply weapons to Ukraine to defend itself against the invasion Russian.

And there is a devastating war in Ukraine, and Turkey occupies a position of uncomfortable neutrality for its energy, trade and strategic dependencies on Russia and its close ties with Ukraine, including sales of military equipment.

Another headache for Turkey in the current war It’s the Bosphorus Strait connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea, where both opposing countries have their fleets maritime.

The Montreux Convention, signed in 1936, obliges Turkey to prevent military ships from passing through the strait of countries involved in a war.

Of course, it must let pass ships that they are back to their bases in the Black Sea and are not participating in the conflict, something difficult to control in the case of Russian ships.

For this reason, the application of Convention by Turkey is “largely symbolic”, considers the Turkish professor Mensur Akgün, recalling that “Russia already has enough ships for an invasion (of Ukraine) from the Black Sea”.

Russian dependency

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it clear that it cannot break either with Ukraine or with Russia, by maintaining strong political, military and economic relations with both, making neutrality the only option for his country.

Of course, Turkey depends much more on Russia than on Ukraine: 33% of the natural gas it imports comes from Russia, and that country is a key market for its agricultural exports.

To that is added the difficult position of Turkish troops in northern Syria, where Ankara controls important swaths of territory thanks to an agreement with Moscow that avoids clashes with the Syrian regime forces.

Turkey depends on Russia not only for natural gas but also for nuclear energy (a Russian company builds the first Turkish atomic reactor), tourism and even air defense.

The Turkish army bought the Russian S-400 anti-missile system in 2019, to which the United States reacted with sanctions against Turkey, one of its most important allies in NATO.

lose in any case

“Turkey is already a loser of the war in economic terms, because it needs trade with both Russia and Ukraine,” explained to Efe the political scientist Güven Gürkan Öztan.

“At a time when relations between Russia and the West are about to collapse There is not much room for maneuver left for a Turkish government that has so far tried to negotiate with both sides (of the Ukrainian conflict),” analyzes Öztan.

If the war drags on and spreads, Turkey will face very serious economic losses, in the magnitude of tens of billions of dollars, Turkish analysts estimate.

Only the loss of Russian tourism could be devastating for the tourism and hotel sector on the Mediterranean coast, already badly damaged by the coronavirus pandemic since 2020.

Russia is the first issuer of tourists to Turkey, with 3.7 million visitors in 2021, ahead of Germany with 2.6 million and Ukraine with 1.6 million people.

Destroyed now by war, Ukraine will surely take years to become an important source of income again for Turkey.

Support for Kyiv

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On the other hand, Erdogan has made it clear from day one that does not support the Russian invasion, it does not recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea and rejects Russian recognition of the breakaway republics of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

At the same time, Kiev is one of Ankara’s best clients for the purchase of armed drones of the Bayraktar TB2 type.

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